Harken Derm

Inaugural sailing team needs warm gear

Published on March 27th, 2019

From the beginning of March through late October, Lake Ontario is dotted with high school sailing teams from across Monroe County in the western portion of the state of New York. But while the City of Rochester is only 14 miles away, the Rochester City School District (RCSD) has never had a sailing team.

The demographics of the area are not ideal for the sport as the RCSD ranks #1 in child poverty among New York state school districts. However, that didn’t stop one of its students from getting the ball rolling.

“I wanted to launch this team because of my love for sailing,” explained Leo Cassetta-Unrath, a sophomore at World of Inquiry School #58. “I have been sailing for three years over the summer at Camp Cory, but never got the chance to sail anywhere else.

“I first heard of the high school sailing league from a friend I go to camp with and decided to try to make a team for my school, and the rest of our district, because most people who go to my school have never sailed before, and I thought it would be a great way for them to try it out.”

Critical to the mission was Liam Faudree, Junior Sailing Director at Rochester Yacht Club. “When I started are RYC in the fall of 2015, my goal was to open sailing to everyone in Rochester. It shouldn’t matter what school or town you live in but that you want to learn the great sport of sailing. I had been working with the RCSD to promote the sport, and then Leo reached out to me with interest and support from his school.”

The team got underway in March with members from two area schools but is open to all RCSD students. They train out of RYC along with 10 other area school teams and have access to the club’s fleet of 20 C420s. While their plan is compete amid other schools in the Interscholastic Sailing Association, they are reaching out to the community for help.

As some team members have never sailed before and come from varied backgrounds, they need sailing gear to deal with the frigid Rochester spring team. A GoFundMe campaign is underway to gain funding for dry suits, boots, life jackets, gloves, team pinnys, etc. The plan is for the gear to stay with the team and be re-used each year for all the sailors to keep them warm and dry.

To help support the team… click here.

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