Sailing 2023 Spring Season Preview


The team at Baker Nationals last year. Courtesy of Will Howard.

Josie Janowicz, Staff Writer

The Lake Forest High School championship sailing team started their spring season on April 3rd. This is a slightly late start to their season due to the spring break dates change and cold weather. 

A big challenge for the team is that all the top teams from around the country such as California and Florida (among others) have been practicing since the winter. This means that the teams LFHS competes against at regattas have had several extra months of time on the water. 

The LFHS nationals roster for the ‘21-’22 year was composed of skippers Henry Scholz ‘23, Tristan McDonald ‘24, Charlie Gish ‘24, Owen Kohut ‘25, and Keegan Chatburn ‘25, and crews Paige Roby ‘22, Rachel Pogany ‘22, Josie Janowicz ‘23, Mary Carter ‘24, and Jackson Schwartz ‘25. 

Some went to Baker Nationals (team racing), some went to Mallory Nationals (fleet racing) and others went to both. 

The team has high hopes of making it to both Nationals this year as well.

 “Our team’s goal is simply strong adherence to our training regimes and in turn, earn a top result at both fleet race and team racing National Championships,” Coach Will Howard said. 

Last year two top crews (Roby and Pogany) graduated and the team lost valuable experience and leadership, as they were also captains. 

“They added a lot of energy and made everyone, especially the younger kids, feel so welcome,” junior Mary Carter said. “They were definitely the right people to set good examples.”

However, the team is working harder than ever and not letting this slow them down. If anything, they believe that the experience from past nationals that the skippers and crews have is what is going to get them even better placement at nationals. 

 “Sailing against other teams from around the country has allowed us to recognize our personal weaknesses as well as areas of improvement which allows us to approach each future race with a tailored mindset,” Captain Henry Scholz said.

If the team makes it to Mallory Nationals, they won’t have a free weekend until June 4th.

Practices are from 3:45 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday every week, with the occasional practice on Fridays. 

Coaches Will Howard and Steve Leuck mentioned they always tell their sailors that they are open to adding Friday practices whenever sailors want the extra practice. 

On weekends, when the team isn’t competing, they are having scrimmages with neighboring teams, mostly with those that practice at Chicago Yacht Club and Columbia Yacht Club. 

Fortunately, Lake Forest Beach is hosting three of the four nationals qualifiers for MISSA, their district inside the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA). 

Sailing on the open waters of Lake Michigan gives our team an advantage because we get any and all conditions imaginable,” Howard said.

For the LFHS team, sailing at their home venue gives them more confidence, familiarity, and insight.

This means the team will have to travel a lot less than last year except for Baker Nationals and Mallory Nationals, hosted in Minnesota and New Jersey, respectively.

LFA students will now also be joining LFHS practices as LFA junior Matthew Sexton has started an LFA sailing team. The team currently consists of six sailors led by Sexton. 

While they will compete as separate teams, they will still share the sailing venue at Lake Forest Beach. 

The team is ready for what the season has to offer and to put in all the hard work that will make it possible for them to compete and place even better than last year.