Sports: Four young sailors gearing up for national competition next month

PORT ANGELES — Four teenage sailors from Port Angeles High School are preparing for the Great Oaks Regatta near New Orleans.

The team and two chaperones will leave Nov. 11 and return Nov. 15. Races are set for Nov. 13-14 on Lake Pontchartrain, just north of The Big Easy.

Juniors Steve Lewis and Chelsea Ronish sailed to third place at the Octoberfest Regatta on Lake Washington earlier this month, qualifying the Port Angeles team for Great Oaks, a national event that offers some of the biggest bragging rights in high school sailing.

“I don’t think I could have done it without my team,” says Lewis, the skipper of the third-place boat at Octoberfest.

Ronish was Lewis’ crew on the two-person sailboat. The duo will also team up in New Orleans. Junior Jack Moriarty will skipper Port Angeles’ other two-person boat with freshman Adam Bradley as crew.

First-year head coach John-Fred Pope will join the team in New Orleans and team supporter and fund-raiser Gay Knutson will act as a second chaperone.

Team work

Ronish says reading her skipper’s body language is the key to the success enjoyed by her and Lewis.

“I had to stay on my toes,” she recalls of their Octoberfest performance.

Lewis admits to sometimes not communicating as well as he could and says Ronish’s ability to judge his action and correctly respond is key.

Asked last week if they’re trying to improve their communication before Great Oaks, Ronish nodded her head and said “yes” while Lewis joked with a “no.”

“They’re improving already,” said Pope.

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