Lake Forest Sailing has a strong record of representation at the singlehanded High School Sailing Nationals (Cressy Trophy), and this year they made history.
The 2022 competition was held in Norfolk Virginia at Old Dominion University on October 29 and 30—the first time in national high school sailing history that a single high school qualified 4 sailors for the Cressy Trophy.
Lake Forest High School sailors Henry Scholz (’23), Tristan McDonald (’24), Charlie Gish (’24), and Owen Kohut (’25) qualified for the Cressy Trophy by finishing top three at the Midwest Qualifier in Cleveland in September. Henry, Tristan, and Charlie swept the Full Rig podium (in that order) and Owen finished 2nd in the Radial Rig to earn their berths for the National Championship.
There are 2 fleets in singlehanded scholastic racing, Radial Rig (ILCA 6) and Full Rig (ILCA 7). The Radial Rig is for sailors under 160lbs, and the Full Rig is for sailors over 160lbs. The only other difference is the size of the sail used.
Day 1 of Nationals in Virginia provided strong, shifty winds at 16-20kts and flat water. Day 2 was slightly less windy but still shifty and windy enough for fitness to play a leading role. At Nationals the sailors compete in 18 back-to-back races that each last approximately 20 minutes.
“It is full heart rate sailing for all 18 races, especially with the breeze we saw,” says Coach Will Howard. “If you make one small error, you’re in last place; the fleets are extremely competitive and every point counts.”
As the racing progressed, first through third were relatively untouchable and the real battle was happening in the full rig fleet between the 4th and 9th place boats. The order changed after each race, and it all came down to the last race. Henry Scholz finished 4th overall, Tristan McDonald 5th, and Charlie Gish 9th. Owen Kohut finished 14th in the Radial Fleet and won the final race with a massive lead.
“This was Owen’s first Cressy Trophy, so 14th in the windy conditions we had is a really great result,” says Coach Howard.
Four sailors competing in Nationals is an achievement within itself, and it was strengthened by the LFHS sailors’ finishes.
“Having 4 sailors at the Cressy Trophy is something no one had seen before. One other school (Ransom Everglades, Miami) had two sailors and the rest of the competitors were the sole representative from their school. A large part of our sailor’s success at this regatta is because our team back home is so deep and dedicated. Henry and Tristan both finishing in the top 5 was awesome and Charlie in the top 9 shows the depth of talent at Lake Forest Sailing,” adds Coach Howard. “For all four sailors, this is a rewarding achievement earned through a lot of hard, year-round training and competition. As I always say and have proven every step of the way, the best is yet to come!”
The Lake Forest Sailing program of the Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Department provides training and racing opportunities for all youth interested in committing to the process and offers a wide range of water sports opportunities at our beautiful lakefront.
To get involved, visit fparksandrec.com/sailing.