On April 22, ‘Iolani’s Varsity II and Varsity III Sailing teams’ first place finishes in their respective divisions earned them a spot in school history. Beyond earning two first place honors, this is also the first time that the ‘Iolani program has undisputedly clinched a Vars III championship. The Varsity I Sailing team fared well too, edging third place on their final Holden Championship regatta on Tuesday, April 23. Looking back at the sailing season, it is amazing to see how far the team came to accomplish such feats.
The season began with a mass overhaul in the coaching department, as both previous head coaches moved away during the off-season, giving their title to then assistant coach and University of Hawai‘i (UH) sailor Michael Magnussen.
In addition to the coaching changes, many of ‘Iolani’s veteran sailors had either graduated or dropped the sport. This left the rather inexperienced coaching staff facing the dilemma of teaching many incoming freshmen how to sail while also coaching up many juniors and seniors to fill in higher roles. Luckily, what prevailed through the early confusion was a sense of chemistry between the team. As students got to know each other better, the skippers and crews learned from one another on the boat leading to, quite literally, smoother sailing. By the time regattas came around, many Raiders felt confident both with their partners and their coaches.
That confidence prevailed through the first few races, as both Varsity II and Varsity III teams held first with a wide margin through the first week of regattas. Varsity I meanwhile stood amongst the middle of the pack, bouncing between third and fourth. As the season went on, the margins became narrower as Varsity I began their run for the podium while the other teams struggled to hold their first place titles. Results truly came down to the wire, as after the Holden Championships, the Raiders edged out their opponents by only a few points.
In Varsity III, ‘Iolani beat out Punahou by two points with a score of 24. Varsity II was even closer, with the Raiders taking gold by 0.6 pints with a score of 15.5. Varsity I meanwhile took third, beating out Le Jardin by nine points.
All said, ‘Iolani showed out to have all three teams earn medals at the Sailing Awards Ceremony. With their excellence, the program earned the fictional Barclay Award, which evaluates all three teams and selects the school with the overall best program. Now, with many of the seniors on Varsity I graduating this year, ‘Iolani sailing can look forward to more success under Coach Michael and company, while the younger sailors continue to better themselves and advance to the next level.