With winds raging, sails taut, ropes tied, and horns blaring the Gorge Sailing team competed alongside Newport and their fellow teammates. Ever changing winds from 1 knot to 27 knots gave sailors the opportunity to experience strategic slow races, where every tiny shift counts, and high speed races, where legs are locked in the hiking straps and both members of the boat are struggling to keep the boat upright. During the regatta each of the seven teams raced eighteen times, with two members of each four man team racing around six to nine times, each, one lap around two opposing bouis. Racing on boats called 420s requires two people, one to steer and adjust the mainsail, and the other to adjust the jib (front sail) and alert the skipper of potential danger.
The Gorge Sailing team sports around 40 kids, one of the largest teams in the country! The size of the team allows new members to get first hand experience under a weathered skipper teaching them the ropes and the winds. The fleet is captained by Lars Bergstrom and Mallory McCollum. Lars was an avid sailor as a child, transitioning to wind surfing for two decades before blowing back to sailing, he’s been sailing for 15 years. Mallory is an avid sailor and serious competitor having raced all over the world in multiple boat categories. A great deal of knowledge between the two of them.
Team racing captain Leif Bergstrom, when asked about the team, said, “This is the most promising season yet. We have a bunch of new sailors and everybody is sailing really well and having a lot of fun.” Lars said when asked about the attraction to sailing, “What could possibly be more fun than blasting around at full speed in a 14 foot sailboat with your good friends?”
With an avid team of sailors, the Gorge Sailing team looks to head full sail into their season with their next race in Newport on April 9th.
By Finn Peterson