For the seventh time, the local boaters brought back the Mallory Cup and the title of double handed national champions, a record unmatched by any school in the country.
Making the cross-country trip were team members freshmen Diego Escobar and Jack Egan, sophomore Sean Caulfield, juniors Jack Reiter, JD Schrady and Emma Batcher and seniors Remy Reynolds and Kenny Moats. With them was veteran coach Steve Hunt, now in his 12th year as Pointer coach.
This year's event was held May 12-14 under conditions that ranged from dry and overcast to rainy and wet on the Charles River in Boston. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hosted teams from the top 20 schools in the United States. Each earned a berth in the championship by placing at the top of regional finals held in the seven regions of the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA).
The Pointers hosted and won the Pacific Coast regional event on April 29 to qualify.
The Mallory Cup event is hosted every year on a rotating basis in one of the seven regions. The San Diego Yacht Club hosted the 2014 competition, also the last time the Pointers captured the cup.
Firefly class boats were chosen for this year's finals. Each is 12 feet in length with 90 square feet of sail area.
Each of the 20 schools launched two boats, dubbed 'A' and 'B,' and each boat sailed 20 separate races. The place finishes of each race were added to yield each team's score, with the lowest score winning.
Aware the conditions would be different than their usual practice course, Hunt moved his team to an area that would more closely resemble the Mallory Cup site.
"Knowing the Charles River is super shifty, we moved our race course in La Playa basin up against the beach to make it as wild and shifty as possible," he said. "This certainly helped us win the event."
Reiter ('A') and Egan ('B') skippered the Pointer boats
Hunt chose a sailor to crew on each boat and race based on wind and weather conditions.
The Pointer 'B' boat achieved the best score of the 40-boat fleet, turning in a score of 110, which included just two wins but 11 top-five finishes.
Scoring slightly higher was the Pointer 'A' boat (137) with four wins and the same number of top-five finishes.
The boats combined for a total score of 247, ten points lower than second place Severn School of the Mid-Atlantic division, a private school in Maryland with an enrollment of 600 in grades 6-12.
"The team has grown from 12 to 35 kids including eighth graders," Hunt said about his tenure in the program. "We are always refining what we do and how we teach to become better. The (San Diego) yacht club facilities have also improved and become more conducive to learning with the state-of-the-art Malin Burnham Sailing Center and new fleet of 24 FJ (class sailboats)."
One of Hunt's greatest challenges is bringing in new team members as others graduate.
"We also try to create a culture where the more experienced sailors coach the less experienced sailors on the team. We want everyone to be very good regardless of age," he said. "I actually coach the eighth graders and freshman more than I coach the juniors and seniors."
Next up for the local sailors is the season-ending ISSA team racing championship for the Baker Trophy that casts off this coming weekend, May 26-28 in Norfolk, Va. The Pointers finished third in this event last year in Anacortes, Wash. with their last victory in 2014.