What Do I Need?
During the beginning of the fall season, sailors will need U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, refillable water bottles, closed-toed shoes, appropriate water-oriented clothing, a bailer, and a watch with count-down timer. As the season moves along, we recommend purchasing spray gear as well as a wetsuit or a drysuit. Drysuit/wetsuits are not imperative for the fall, but will be absolutely necessary in order to participate in the spring. Sailing-specific gear can be found purchased at Annapolis Performance Sailing, just a block away from SSA, or at any other marine retailer.
For schools that practice out of SSA, the SSA Junior program provides coaching at practices and at regattas during the regular season. If your school qualifies for a national championship, additional coaching fees will apply for those teams to cover that coaching. Your tuition also covers your use of SSA's 18 club-owned boats.
How Do Regattas Work?
High school sailing closely parallels the collegiate sailing format. For fleet racing, teams are divided into A and B divisions, with different skippers and crews in each division. Teams may substitute sailors as long as prescribed substitution rules are followed. Short courses--average of 18 minutes or so--are used, typically windward-leeward with a gate. Except in rare cases, only one fleet (A or B) is on the water at a time. After two races are completed, divisions switch, and the boat being sailed by each team is rotated. This allows for coaching and a break. Boat rotation eliminates the possibility of any team having an advantage because of an inherently faster boat.
Schools also participate in team racing events, where each school fields three boats to sail against three boats from another team. In team racing, teammates work together to outmaneuver the other team so that their combined race scores are better than the other team’s combined scores.
Are There Varsity and Junior Varsity Teams?
SSA coaches divide high school teams into varsity and junior varsity teams based on observed performance and personal knowledge regarding skill levels. Varsity teams attend local regattas and also travel to venues requiring overnight stays several times a season. Organization of all local and overnight trips is the responsibility of team captains and parents. JV teams typically travel to day-long local regattas.
At SSA, JV and varsity teams practice on different days. This allows for all coaching to be targeted to each sailor's needs. Practices are held:
- Varsity: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 3:30-6:30 p.m.
- Junior Varsity: Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-6:30 p.m.
You can also follow the SSA Junior Program and Severn Sailing Association on Facebook and follow updates on Twitter (@SSAJuniors and @SevernSailing).
How Is High School Sailing in Maryland Organized?
Teams that at SSA are part of the Central League of the Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Sailing Association (MASSA) District. Teams participate in a number of regattas throughout the seasons, which run from September to November and March to May. The end of each season culminates in a District Championship. In the spring, for those teams that qualify, the National Fleet Racing Championship (Mallory Cup) and National Team Racing Championship (Baker Cup) are held. SSA high school teams have a long record of being very competitive at the national level.