Anchors away

  • Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eileen Keithly/South Strand News Waccamaw High School’s sailing club held mandatory tryouts on Aug 21, for its competitive sailing team at Hazard Marine in Georgetown. From left, Waccamaw High School Sailing Club Coach Emily Livingston makes sure freshmen sailors Ella Grace Bodie and Sidney Register have plenty of water on-board for the afternoon tryouts in the Georgetown Harbor. Back, center, Register’s twin brother Clayton adjusts his sails and readies his boat. Hazard Marine in Georgetown is the home port for the Warriors Sailing Club.

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Waccamaw High School sailors set sail from Hazzard Marine in Georgetown Aug. 21, for a mandatory competitive team tryout.

The high school has one sailing club with two divisions. There is a club team that focuses on the sport of sailing and a competitive team that requires the sailors to participate in a minimum of five regattas.

The number of competitive team members is determined by the number of boats the school has at its disposal. “Right now, I think we have room for between 15 and 18 sailors,” Coach Emily Livingston estimated.

Livingston coaches the team with Bob Turner. The two offered plenty of advice to the sailors, but for the most part watched and observed as the two-boy and, in one case, a two-girl team rigged and prepared their own vessels. “It’s part of what we evaluate them on,” Turner said. “They need to be able to rig their own boat and set sail.”

Sidney Register rigged her boat as if she could have done it with one arm tied behind her back.

“I love sailing. I have been sailing since I was in the second grade, and it is a wonderful sport.”

While she was rigging her boat, Register communicated and worked closely with her boatmate Ella Grace Bodie.

“Sidney has taught me a lot,” Bodie remarked. “I have sailed with her a couple of times and I am hoping to make the team.”

With a wink and a nod, Register suggested Bodie would have no trouble making the team.

Sailing is not the only thing on these mariners’ minds.

The Waccamaw competitive team members are required to volunteer with the club program an average of two days a month.

The competitive team is also required to participate in 75 percent of practices to retain their competitive club eligibility.

The team holds practice at their home port of Hazzard Marina in Georgetown on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each week.

Turner and Livingston credited Register with the “heavy group of ninth graders turning out today.”

Jan O’Tuel, self-professed “sailing mom” and president of the Waccamaw High School Sailing Committee, credited Register with more than the large turnout on Aug. 21.

“Sidney helped start the sailing club at Waccamaw,” O’Tuel reported, “and she has a lot to do with the interest the club is having now.”

Once the sailors made their way out into the harbor, the coaches instructed them on the course they were to sail. The course seemed to be a lot less complicated than the start.

“We start all races with a whistle sequence, and if they are not paying attention, they will be at a loss,” Livingston explained.

“Looks like we will have plenty of wind today,” Noah Benton observed as he assessed the weather conditions prior to rigging his boat.

Benton, another freshman with a love for the water and an understanding of the sport beyond his young years, had his boat seaworthy in very little time.

“Let’s get this done before the weather starts to set in.”

Tenth grader Colt Woodhouse was looking forward to getting out on the water himself.

“I have been sailing quite a while now, maybe three or four years, so I decided to come out and try my luck and see if I could make the competition team.”

As the teams set sail, Turner gave them a last piece of advice: “Today is about setting goals and achieving them. We want to find the places where we can make little improvements, which will result in big changes.”

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