Portsmouth teen sailors compete in national regatta

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PORTSMOUTH — Two local students competed over the weekend in the National High School Single-Handed Championships (the Cressy Trophy), hosted by Sail Newport.

Hugh MacGillivray, a senior at the Portsmouth Abbey, and Tyler Fleig, a junior from Portsmouth High School, sailed in the Laser Full division.

The both qualified for the event based on their strong showing in the New England Scholastic Sailing Association Single-Handed Championship (the Healy Trophy), held in Hyannis, Mass. recently. In that regatta's Laser Full Division, Tyler finished second and Hugh finished third.

The Newport regatta featured 36 sailors from eight different geographic regions around the country competing in two classes — Laser Full and Laser Radial. Weather conditions were extremely varied — warm with light wind on Saturday and cold with very heavy winds Sunday.

The two boys sailed fairly well on Saturday, but struggled Sunday when everything changed overnight. The temperature plummeted (highs in the 40s after temperatures in the 60s on Saturday), the wind picked up (18 to 20 knots from the north early on, dying to around 12 to 15 knots by the end of the regatta) and a cruise ship dropped anchor in Newport. All factors combined for a vastly different day of racing.

Due to the strong breeze and the fact that both were very lightweight to be sailing in the full division. Tyler finished 17th, with Hugh right behind him at 18th.

Hugh is looking forward to sailing in college next year, while Tyler says he relishes the challenge of another high school National Single Handed Championship next year in Washington. They will also both compete on their respective high school sailing teams this spring in the double-handed events.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.