By Benito Vila
Last Saturday, while many around town were spending their first weekend since May out of the water, the Pierson sailing team was beneath the Throgs Neck Bridge completing their fall racing campaign at SUNY Maritime.
The team placed fifteenth out of the eighteen New York schools that participated in the regatta. Coach Rich Terry praised the effort and the outcome saying, “Fifteenth over all is pretty good considering three out of our four sailors in the race are in eighth grade. We have a very young team with some raw natural talent. As they grow physically, they will be much more capable of man-handling the boats that they race. High school sailors race in collegiate 420 boats basically designed to carry 300-400 pounds. When both skipper and crew have a hard time breaking 200 pounds, they are forced to sail the boat much more conservatively in high winds.”
Coach Terry also saw his young crew grow in confidence and stay out of trouble Saturday noting, “Putting them in a fleet of 18 boats maneuvering in tight corners gives these kids nerves of steel. At the end of the day there were at least five schools working through penalties. Our sailors raced well and stayed away from fouling other boats.” The best finish for the day was a fifth place by Dana Harvey and Jenna Schnayerson in the fourth race of the B division.
Six others made up varsity sailing this fall: captain Carolyn Comber, Ally Manzo, Liz Oldak, Kevin Heine, Madeline Webber and Will Broich. The team raced in two other major events so far this season, one at US Merchant Marine Academy in King’s Point, and one at home in the harbor.
In the home regatta over the rained-out Homecoming Saturday September 27, Comber and Heine led Pierson to a second place finish in the A division. Coach Terry summed up the day by email as follows:
Â “Kevin Heine and Carolyn Comber have been sailing together for all of this season and their teamwork is beginning to pay off.Â Finishing in the top five for several of the races and having one first place put them in a three-way tie for first in the A division against St. John the Baptist High School and St. Anthony’s High School. After comparing best finishes St John’s took first and Pierson took second in the A division.”
“Despite the torrential downpours Dana Harvey and Liz Oldak sailed extremely well. While having very limited time together on a boat, they worked together to improve their scores. Their hard work was rewarded when they had the best start out of the ten boats in B division and finished first, four boat lengths ahead of the nearest challenger.”
“Overall Pierson finished seventh for the day while the Stony Brook School took first. Sailors from Bayshore and Mamaroneck also scored well.”