What a night it will be in two days on Wednesday August 10th at the Maritime Gloucester! It will be one of those Glosta tables – like in 1800s Gloucester where community, good company and incomparable ambience reigned – surrounded by schooners, lights, the sunset, world-class chowder and rollers of lobster (included!), delicious nibbles (same) and a drink (not included), fellow yakers, silent auction items and paintings to bid on and a swarm of deserving current and future sailing stars .
All to raise funds for the SailGHS Kids Sailing Team.
The “Hiking Out for Kid Racers” event will run from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a whirlwind of old-fashioned fun for the price of a $25 donation ticket. An All-Star musical lineup will serenade you with the chants and folksongs of Daisy Nell and Cap’n Stan, the daring return of comedian/singer Hooglio Bastisto, and the authentically incredible three-part Beatles singing of John Rockwell, Gordon Baird and Dave. Keon. And it will be straight out of an old picture of Gloucester harbour, on the docks, surrounded by all those schooners, fishing boats and the community of Glosta.
Yes, this is the same team that just won the Division 2 State Championships last spring, and we need to win them.
SailGHS is entirely self-funded, and depends on the goodwill of its supporters. Coaches do it for free but nothing else is.
“Sponsors and sellers of auction items have come out of the woodwork to support the children,” SailGHS Director Hilary Frye said. “We are very grateful to Brown’s Boatyard, Cape Ann Savings Bank, Zekes Restaurant, Nelson’s, 7 Seas Whale Watch, Three Lantern Marine Supply, Turtle Alley Chocolates, Spear Fishing Charters, Cape Ann Lobstermen, Neptune’s Harvest, The Rhumbline, Mark Ring Lobsters , Olga Hayes, Fred Shrigley, Carol Steele Insurance, Jeff Weaver, Cathy Coakley Paint Studios and, of course, Maritime Gloucester.
“The silent auction will include paintings by local artists and giveaways, gift certificates, fishing trips, lobsters, restaurant meals, door prizes, more great food, harbor rides and sails, fashion items, gardening equipment and, of course, chocolate creations!” she continued.
Gloucester has improved at an explosive pace over the past four years, beating Division 1 and 2 rivals, dethroning perennial powerhouses St. John’s, Manchester Essex Regional, Boston Latin, Winchester and Hingham. SailGHS also won the 24-team Massachusetts Bay Freshmen/Sophomore Regatta last May by a combined score to complete its season 10-0. Most school teams are built around their stars from private “yacht club racing schemes”, such as Pleon in Marblehead or MSA in Manchester. But all SAILGHS sailors come from Frye’s free summer sailing program and have come through the pipeline.
“Our biggest star, Olivia Hogan-Lopez, joined the program at age 10 and became a team racing steamroller,” said coach Gordon Baird. “She was invited to Harvard’s varsity team after being accepted last spring. She’s a GHS sports success story!”
In the fall and spring, the team gets down to business, training at the center in Gloucester Harbor five days a week. “It’s incredibly fun, but quite challenging too,” said Baird, a runner himself. “High school sailing is a team race and a very complex skill. Most fleet racers don’t really understand this. It’s not just about going fast. It’s more like chess, planning three moves ahead.
Also, no other team trains in the fall or starts as early as mid-March. It clearly made all the difference.
“Colder air and water temperatures require drysuits, which wear out after a few years,” sighs Frye. “SailGHS is one of the only teams to provide it to its students. They cost over $600 each and our goal is to buy six this year. Oh yes, and six brand new boat covers for the same price each! To help!
So come support the mighty runners. You’ll get more than your $25 worth and laugh and sing along to great music on one of the finest schooners in town, Maritime Gloucester. Save the date—Wednesday, August 10. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
Donations are also welcome at SailGHS, PO Box 657, Gloucester, MA 01931.
Please help the winners keep winning!
Gloresident of ucester Gordon Baird is an actor and musician, co-founder of Musician magazine and producer of the community television show “The Chicken Shack”.