Each year, the High School Singlehanded National Sailing Championships are held in a different region of the United States. This year’s event brought 18 of the nation’s top Laser sailors to Newport, R.I.
Conditions were unseasonably warm on the first day of racing. The race committee did a good job finding wind and was able to score four races that day. At the end of the day, Dos Pueblos High School senior Matt Long trailed the leader by eight points.
On day two, everything was different. The air temperature plummeted from the mild 60s on day one to the middle 40s. The wind picked up, starting the day with 18 to 20 knots from the north, and settling to around 12 to 15 knots by the end of the regatta, all making for a vastly different day of racing.
Long started the day with two firsts and a second while the leader had an untimely capsize in race six. Long's consistent performance over two days of sailing in a variety of conditions enabled him to secure the win by three points over Richard Didham of San Diego and third-place Malcolm Lamphere of Lake Forest, Ill.
There are more than 469 schools competing in high school sailing nationwide. Long earned a berth in the championships by winning the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association regional qualifier. The PCISA region has 100 schools and includes all of California, Arizona and Hawaii. The PCISA region was allocated four berths for the national event.
Long trains three to four hours a day, two or three days a week with the Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation and the UCSB Sailing Team. He got his start in sailing with the Santa Barbara Sea Shell Association and has been sailing competitively since 2006.
He is on the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association race team and the California International Sailing Association sailing team. He is also a U.S. sailing certified instructor.
— John Long is the father of Dos Pueblos High School senior and sailing champion Matt Long.