Sailing at home for once, on a course set up along the downtown Embarcadero with a spectacular city view, the Pointers prevailed in the last of 22 races when their B Division boat crossed the finish line in fifth place, edging out the sixth-place boat from St. George’s School of Rhode Island.
The margin of victory: one foot.
The fifth-place finish left the Pointers with a score for 22 races of 138 points, the total of all 22 finish orders. St. George finished with 139 points.
Hosted by the San Diego Yacht Club May 11-12, the event was conducted by the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA), which selects 20 schools from each of seven national districts to compete for the title, based on earlier racing performance.
By rule, each team may only have eight members and must sail two boats (Division A and Division B).
Teams sail two races in Division A boats, then confer with coaches and plan strategies while Division B boats sail two races. Before returning, team members are often switched in boats to match wind conditions.
With the final deadline approaching, the Pointer A boat (Scott Sinks and Johannes McElvain) finished sixth, leaving them in an overall tie with St. George’s with Shorecrest School (Florida) just one point back.
But after huddling with longtime team coach Steve Hunt, the B boat team of Will La Dow and Jennifer Johnson steered their dinghy to the fifth-place finish that clinched the championship.
For McElvain, this marks his second Mallory Trophy victory. The Pointer junior was on the 2012 team that also won the title.
Also sailing in the event were Rebecca McElvain, Kenny Moats, Mercedes McPhee and Andy Reiter.
Boats sailed were CFJ dinghies, 13.5 feet in length, belonging to the tournament host. Boats were rotated among teams to ensure even competition.
The Pointers earned entry from the Pacific Coast district along with Branson (San Francisco), Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar Schools.
The event host is rotated each year between districts, and this was the Pacific Coast’s turn, saving the Pointers thousands of dollars in plane fares, hotels and meals.
Members of the San Diego Yacht Club volunteered in numerous roles for a year leading up to the Mother’s Day-weekend event.