Southwestern High School Sailing Team Captures First Regatta Of Season

Qualifies For Mid-Atlantic Gold Championships Later This Month In Virginia

From the left are Southwestern High School sailing team members Brooks Turcotte, Victoria Smith, AJ Smith, William Turner, Patrick Kelly and Chase Stevenson. Submitted photo

ROCHESTER — Some of the most difficult conditions of the season proved no obstacle for the Southwestern High School sailing team at its first regatta this season. They handily took first place with 31 points, with the Pittsford High School team six points behind for second place.

Even though the Chautauqua Lake local sailors’ boats were locked solid in ice at their winter storage in Celoron, the high school sailing season started on Saturday, March 24, in Rochester on Lake Ontario, with this critical early season qualifier. Sailors from throughout Western New York braved difficult conditions with frigid temperatures in the 20s and strong winds out of the north.

The Rochester high school sailing teams hosted the qualifier. The top two teams won the honors to compete in Mid-Atlantic Gold Championships in Christchurch, Virginia in mid-April. Southwestern and Pittsford High School will compete at that time with other top teams from around the Mid-Atlantic region.

With almost no practice time on the water since last fall, sailors representing Southwestern sailed 12 races in six rotations against teams from eight other schools to capture the top spot, winning the regatta and a chance to represent WNY schools in Virginia.

Southwestern Sailing Team 1 was comprised of Will Turner and AJ Smith, in A Division, and Patrick Kelly and Chase Stevenson in B Division. Southwestern Team 1 took five first place places out of the 12 races held, for a final count of 31 points and securing first place overall. Kelly had a great performance with the lowest score of the regatta (low scores are the best in sailing), skippering in B Division to win four out of his six races.

Also sailing as part of a mixed team were the team’s youngest sailors, Brooks Turcotte and Victoria Smith, both Southwestern eighth-graders, who had two top-three finishes.

The local sailing teams hope to start practicing in earnest on Chautauqua Lake starting April 9 with participants from several local high schools. Scholarships are available to all new participants. Anyone from area schools who may be interested in learning about this program, should contact Hunter Farris at 720-1550 or visit the CLCSF website at

The non-profit Chautauqua Lake Community Sailing Foundation, which supports the Southwestern sailing team, will host its own regatta on April 22 at the Richard O. Hartley Park in Lakewood.

Rochester results

1. Southwestern HS 31 points

2. Pittsford HS 38 points

3. McQuaid HS 44 points

4. Harley-Allendale Columbia HS 57 points

5. Fairport HS 61 points

6. Mercy HS 61 points

7. Mixed Chautauqua Schools 77 points

8. Mixed Rochester Schools 78 points

9. Webster HS 92 points