Watch Rocky River High School sailing team practice for nationals

“Breeze on!” shouts a Rocky River sailor. “Let’s go!”

Rocky River and Lakewood sailing teams practice Wednesday from the Old Coast Guard Station. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake)

The sails are snapping. The dock at Cleveland’s Old Coast Guard Station is creaking. And the two-student team on the Flying Junior is off into the glittering inner harbor, to practice for the Interscholastic Sailing Association fleet racing national championship.

The team — which began three years ago with the Foundry rowing and sailing centeris the first in Ohio to qualify for nationals in Houston and the chance to win the Mallory Trophy, high school sailing’s oldest trophy.

Six sailors will rotate on boats, sailing double-handed on dinghies near Galveston Bay, this weekend. The team left Friday morning.

The Rocky River High School sailing team is racing in nationals this weekend. (Laura Johnston, RocktheLake).

More than half of Rocky River’s team had never sailed before joining the team three years ago. The Foundry recruited them after rigging a 420 dinghy in the cafeteria surrounded by videos of kids powering through waves.

“It’s something that’s a little bit different than your typical ball sport,” said Foundry Coach Sam Patterson. “We came along with an opportunity.”

Five high school teams sail from the Old Coast Guard Station with the Foundry: Saint Joseph Academy, St. Ignatius High School, Rocky River, Lakewood High School and Hawken School. Each team generally practices three times a week after school and races in regattas nearly every weekend from August though the end of October and March through May.

To raise money for the nationals trip, Rocky River is selling sailboats made from driftwood and fabric. They’ve sold about 50, at $15 and $25. They also made T-shirts with their school mascot, the Pirates, that say “Sailors make stories. Pirates make legends.”

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