High School Sailing: Message from the President

Published on November 26th, 2013

By Tim Hogan, ISSA President
Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA) recently concluded their Annual Meeting for High School Sailing. This is the 83rd year in existence and our program is in great shape. ISSA has added 100 high school sailing teams in the last 5 years. We are now up to 465 schools and have approximately 5,000 sailors participating. This growth is fantastic but we have a number of challenges that arise with this expansion.

Why are we growing?
Our main focus is to provide an opportunity for all levels of sailors to experience competitive sailing in a team format. One major goal is to make sailing fun for the 13-18 year old sailors.

ISSA just completed the Great Oaks regatta at Southern Yacht in New Orleans where 40 schools that are not at the level to qualify for our national championships participated. Nine of the schools were competing at the regatta for the first time. This format is very successful giving sailors an opportunity to travel and compete at a national regatta.

Another annual regatta is the Rose Bowl regatta which has turned into an “event” with 60 high school teams and 30 collegiate teams. This regatta, which is held the first weekend in January in Long Beach, California, features a “college night” dinner for 500 sailors and parents where each College team has the opportunity to present their college sailing program to the group.

How are we growing?
One of our successes has been the formation of leagues within our districts. This type of de-centralization has fueled tremendous growth. The Mid-Atlantic district now has 5 leagues and has doubled in size from 50 teams to become the largest district with 100 schools. The students are sailing in more local venues which are easier, less travel time and more cost effective. In the last 3 months, ISSA has held over 130 regattas providing opportunities for thousands of sailors to get on the water. With this kind of activity we are getting many first time schools and students participating.

This fall 250 singled handed sailors competed in each of the 7 district championships with 38 of the top sailors advancing to the singled handed national championships (Cressy) held in Newport, Rhode Island. We appreciate the help from Laser Performance for providing 38 new Lasers for the regatta. Without their support the level of the sailing would not be the same.

ISSA continues to work on improving our communication through new websites for each district that tie into our main website at www.hssailing.org. This website is providing information such as results, photos and videos for schools, parents and sailors. As we continue to grow we are always looking for ways to improve our communication with social media.

What do we need to do to keep improving?
ISSA’s policy of open communication gives everyone the tools to keep improving. Various reports on such as “How to Start a Sailing Team” are very helpful. On the district and league level, we are working on being consistent with our procedural rules while giving each district or league some latitude for adjustments. ISSA is in the process of creating an overall scoring program that will standardize our regatta information and results. We are also investing in coaching, sailing clinics and team management clinics that are being held throughout the country.

Source: ISSA – Nov. 26, 2013

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