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HHS Sailing Team – back in A Division – looking forward to a successful season

HHS Sailing Team – back in A Division – looking forward to a successful season
Hingham High Faculty sailing mentor Joe Griffen in front of the two new sail designs the staff will be making use of this yr.

March 27, 2023 By Carol Britton Meyer

The Hingham Large Faculty Sailing Group has arrive a lengthy way less than the in a position management of Coach Joe Griffin more than the past 12 decades.

The staff, now back again in the Sailing Group A Division, is hunting ahead to a productive time, traveling all about New England.

“We will be competing in massive qualifying regional regattas for the first time in around 12 yrs mainly because our program is expanding stronger and we have been able to have more recent machines to aid acquire our sailors while generating it a secure activity,” Griffin — a 1999 HHS graduate — instructed the Hingham Anchor. “Our goal this calendar year is to qualify for some nationwide regattas from these qualifying regional regattas.”

Griffin has sailed his whole everyday living, mastering the talent on his father’s boat and at Hingham Yacht Club.

“I raced dinghies till I was 16, then moved on to big boat racing,” he recalled. After taking a number of years off from sailing in his university years, he picked up the activity once more and “fell in love with sailing yet again as an adult.”

Griffin went on to acquire quite a few boats, sailing them all all-around new England. “Finally in 2018/2019, I was fortuitous to be able to sail down the East Coast and travel to the Bahamas on my have sailboat,” he mentioned.

Coaching the HHS sailing workforce beginning in 2011 started off out as a pleasurable activity to support out, “and around the decades has turned into a adore of coaching and looking at all these youthful individuals do well above the several years,” he mentioned. “I imagine the most worthwhile portion is when I see sailors whom I coached yrs in the past who are nonetheless out sailing and racing — it’s this kind of a awesome sensation.”

The sailing team belongs to a national league manufactured up of more compact regional leagues. “We compete in the regional league fulfills for a chance to race on a national stage from other high college sailing teams from all in excess of the country, competing generally in crew racing matches with some fleet racing regattas,” Griffin stated. “We do a ton of classroom work to review principles, and video do the job these types of as observing crew racing from an aerial look at or unique movies on moves and techniques.”

The crew has arrive along way in 12 many years and now competitors and spectators will be ready to effortlessly identify the HHS sailing group on the h2o.

6 new boats included for 2023 time
The sailing workforce has raised extra than $20,000 with the help of private donors, Hingham Sports activities Partnership, and a fundraising partnership with Hingham Maritime Centre — the team’s home base.

This fundraising has paid for six much more boats for the JV crew and 12 sets of new sails bearing the HHS Sailing Workforce burgee and the City of Hingham brand in time for the 2023 period. “They are also color-coded so spectators can check out and hold monitor from the shore,” he reported.

Sailing is definitely a coed sport, with women sailing with fellas, fellas competing versus girls, or a coed boat going towards an all-boys boat. Our females will/have competed versus all-boys educational institutions, Griffin noted. “No other activity does this. We have experienced one of the optimum percentages of women on the workforce for the final 12 decades — more than 50 p.c — when other groups have only a handful.”

Even though the season is quick — managing from March 17 via Memorial Working day — workforce users commit a whole lot of time together on extended bus rides and have made near friendships over the many years. “It’s worthwhile when kids I coached tell me afterwards on that they are now included in adult racing,” he said, “and when their moms and dads talk with me about their longstanding friendships when I see them.”

Hingham sailing team past calendar year in a race vs Wellesley.

Many group members grew up sailing
Some 20 students are portion of the team. “A the greater part of the kids grew up sailing at Hingham Maritime Heart or at Hingham Yacht Club and have sailed a large amount in summer months packages or other packages on the Cape and other places,” Griffin stated. Some of the older sailors sail all winter season prolonged in New England at diverse venues.

At the very same time, any college student with an fascination in sailing and a willingness to make the work is eligible to be a part of the workforce.

The plan is developed in January for the commence of the new season.  “We have to get in [a certain number] of fulfills and races to qualify for our national and regional regattas,” mentioned Griffin, who expressed appreciation for the support of moms and dads, the Boosters, and volunteers who support with the devices locating, obtaining, shipping, and prep function for the time, loaning their automobiles to tow the boats, bringing components back from different sections of the state, and many other tasks that are essential that I could not get completed without the need of their support — which has contributed to the expansion of the staff.”

It’s up to the coaches to established the agenda and to make confident they timetable the necessary quantity of races in opposition to other teams in the league. The routine is pushed by the private faculty calendar for the most portion, as quite a few groups the HHS Sailing Group competes in opposition to are from non-public faculties.”

Struggling with issues
Griffin began as an assistant mentor with the HHS sailing crew in 2011 with a crew that integrated only 6 experienced sailors out of 8 or 10 full, and eight 11-12 months-previous boats with holes in the sails. At that time the workforce was in the Sailing Staff A Division.

In his next calendar year in that function, the scenario remained the similar — eight water-logged boats that had been in disrepair and a confined amount of sailors.

The scenario started to consider a flip for the better gradually but surely in 2013 when Griffin took over as head mentor, in spite of the exact same boats and “trying to determine out how to get new ones,” he recalled.

While the quantity of contributors was at a minimal at the beginning of time, there ended up more than enough sailors to contend, whilst the scenario was not best.

In 2014, morale was reduced, with the crew “losing steam at this issue and not capable to contend with other educational institutions because of to a lack of water accessibility and participation,” Griffin reported.

The pursuing yr, there was a emphasis on getting some boats in very good issue, but with no assets offered, a Boosters group started to increase revenue, but not plenty of.

Inspite of the issues, the team grew to 10-12, with a vast majority of qualified sailors. In the meantime, the issue of the boats continued to deteriorate.

With endeavours to raise far more dollars continuing in 2016, the staff grew to 12-16 members, most of them sailors.

Rebuilding the sailing workforce
“We switched down to a lower division that 12 months since of our problems of finding on the water in the spring in time to practice. We would shed about four months of exercise due to not remaining ready to access any docks in the space,” Griffin remembers. “We were being having blown out by Division 1 teams,  partly due to the absence of good equipment and entry to the water — which led to much less observe and enhancement time — so we moved down to the B Division in purchase to rebuild, just after becoming in Division A from the inception of the group.”

At this issue, the workforce had two new boats compensated for by donations from two moms and dads, two new-to-them sails, and eight boats in great disrepair.

(The water accessibility issue was fixed in 2022, when Hingham Maritime Heart partnered with the sailing staff and put in floating docks that the sailing group could use, enabling them to commence their season on March 17 every single calendar year. This year, a gangway will be installed to deliver a lot easier obtain to the floating dock.

“We at last have adequate machines and assets soon after 12 many years to get out on the drinking water on time and to contend with top rated schools in the area once again,” Griffin stated.)

By 2017, the workforce experienced raised adequate revenue to buy 4 utilised boats from Hingham Yacht Club, “leaving us with six great boats,” Griffin described, thanks to his initiatives in cooperation with HYC club customers.

Achieve in quantities
“Not only have been the Boosters, mother and father, and coaches performing on fundraising, I attribute a ton of the teams’ get in numbers and notoriety to the workforce users making extra of an hard work to be witnessed around town and university and finding the term out there that THERE IS A SAILING Workforce!” Griffin claimed.

At this issue, there were additional workforce users than boats. “We consistently had at least 4 little ones in the coach boat. I was frequently switching kids in and out, and every single 1 of them wished to be out sailing and not on the mentor boat,” he recalled.

In 2018, the tides turned, with the team coming in second in Division B, with a team of 14-18 — the vast majority of them skilled sailors. In the meantime, Boosters meetings continued, along with attempts to elevate dollars for considerably-desired gear while imagining about the subsequent round of boats. The visual internet marketing by the staff was also likely strong.

That yr,  Griffin started to very clear the debris out of the making the place the boats had been saved and created and installed racks in the newly cleared out place for all the new boats.

During the early COVID decades, Zoom conferences had been held between team users, but there wasn’t a lot exercise. Coincidentally, Griffin invested the wintertime sailing in the Bahamas.

When the workforce was capable to get collectively in human being in 2020, the figures had been at an all-time lower of six — barely plenty of to subject a team.

“Miraculously in 2021, the number of customers jumped back again up to extra than 14, with knowledge of far more sailors coming up the adhering to year, so we made a decision additional boats were being necessary,” Griffin claimed. “If we needed a lot more kids to join, we necessary additional boats for them to sail.”

That yr there was a renewed fascination in sailing, and the group acquired about 10 freshmen members. “We had been questioned to shift up in the Division, but I desired far more time in the B Division for our group to establish its skills,” he spelled out.

By previous yr, much more than 18 HHS college students had signed up for the workforce. “Only 12 could sail at a single time — which intended that not numerous little ones could get into several meets — and there ended up no sources to have JV satisfies with the quantity of boats we experienced,” Griffin discussed. “A absence of gear prevented the team from acquiring even more, and hard decisions wanted to be manufactured as to who would contend.”

That reported, the group received an all-girls regatta and placed in many other regattas. “We took next place in the B Division South and simply competed from a lot of A teams,” according to Griffin.

Studying team racing techniques as very well as self-reliance
He emphasised the difficulties posed by the atmosphere, “which plays a critical job in sailing — from dealing with switching currents, winds gusting to 30 mph then back again down to 15 mph, waves slowing you down to a end, and wind shifts — or the ocean could be as relaxed as a swimming pool on other days with no wind.”

These young sailors “are processing so much information and facts all at at the time, which is fairly astounding,” Griffin reported. “They have to course of action the wind, together with velocity/path/variations water current, i.e., route/pace/improvements the place their teammates are foresee the future shift at subsequent mark and feel strategically to go their team into profitable position — all even though attempting to sail the boat as rapidly, and at times as little by little, as attainable without having collisions or being strike by the growth, which often rotates at lightning-rapidly speeds with our maneuvering.”

Griffin’s hope is that he’s not only coaching these young sailors in staff race sailing, but also teaching them to be self-reliant.

“Not only are these kids sailing, but they are bodily retaining their very own boats, repairing breakdowns, difficulty-solving, and driving the trailers that transport the boats, mainly because that is what demands to materialize when you are on a sailing workforce,” Griffin reported. “It’s terrific to see all the girls and guys working jointly, the two off and on the water. I can’t hold out to see what they attain this time, starting with our 1st Quad Staff Race Fulfill April 1 at Duxbury Maritime Heart.