Providence Academy Sails into Spring

Sailors from the PA team are out on the water soon after winter. --photo courtesy of Frances Christianson
Sailors from the PA team are out on the water soon after winter. –photo courtesy of Frances Christianson

With their season starting April 1st, Providence Academy Sailing team is looking to have a good year.

This year’s captains for the sailing team are Frances Christianson ’14 and Patrick Buehler ’14. The team consists of 16-18 students, from grades 7-12. Providence’s sailing team competes and practices against other schools like Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Wayzata and Chanhassen. Ms. Katie Lahti helps out by being the faculty director and Mr.Thomas Jones helps out with other administrative pieces as part of his role as the Upper School Activities Supervisor, but for practices, because of the distant practices, most help is from students from the schools competing.

Practices start April 1st if the lakes are not frozen. The team holds their practices at Lake Minnetonka at the Wayzata Community Sailing Center but compete at lakes across the Twin Cities and other locations. They compete on Lake Minnetonka, Lake Calhoun, and White Bear Lake. The sailing team also plans to go to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to sail Lake Michigan and hopefully Pewaukee, Wisconsin to sail Pewaukee Lake as well.

Sailing competes in two different categories. The first is fleet racing. Fleet racing is when a group of sailors sail a predetermined course and points are assigned for the place they finish (1st gets 1 point, 2nd gets 2 points) and the team with the lowest score wins. Fleet racing can consist of many boats sailing at one time. The second category of racing is team racing. Team races have more complex courses with only 6 boats sailing (3 per team). The scoring is the same for team racing and fleet racing except the fact that in team racing you want to make the sum of your team’s points be less than 10.

Buehler described the sail boats the team uses.

“For the most part, we sail a dinghy boat called a 420,” he said. “It holds two people, one skipper and one crew.  The skipper is responsible for steering and trimming the mainsail.  The crew is responsible for trimming the jib, adjusting the mainsail controls, and helping the skipper with tactics.”