The purpose of the SHS website is to facilitate communication among those interested in Sharon High Sailing. It provides an introduction to the team as well as information needed by team members, other league participants, and those considering joining the team. On the About Us page, we describe the program and its membership (including a picture of the team), and we provide team history, fundraising information, and something about our venue as well as how to contact the coaches (and Website Manager). Our important requirements section can help students interested in joining the team and their parents know about prerequisites and what may be required for ongoing participation on the team.
From the requirements section below or via the tab above, one can navigate to the Gear page which provides details to assist sailors on dressing for safety and performance during different times of the year. Directions to our beach and a map appear on the Directions page. On the Schedule pages, the schedule of practices, meets, and regattas is provided for the current season. The results of competitions will be presented on the Results page, and a photo gallery is available on the Photos page.
We are open to all Sharon high school students, male and female, novices to experienced sailors. We can accommodate about twenty to twenty–five sailors and customarily have almost that number. High School Sailing is a truly co–ed sport, where girls and boys compete equally against each other and have interchangeable roles as skippers and crews. Similarly, all grade levels sail together.
Although we occasionally sail other similar boats, the boats we most frequently sail are 420's. A 420 is a 13 foot, two person boat with a mainsail and jib and a retractable centerboard.
For SHS sailing team, sailing is a two season sport – fall and spring. The fall season is primarily instructional and intramural. This is the time when novices can get “learn to sail” instruction, and it is the time when the primary focus is for each sailor to improve. We have one regional fleet race regatta and an intramural fleet race regatta.
The spring season is focused on competition with other schools, and it is about seventy five percent team racing and twenty five percent fleet racing. We compete in the greater Boston based Mass Bay League, as well as in the regional New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA). We sail against teams of various skill levels and compete at both varsity and junior varsity levels.
We sail after school Monday through Thursday and occasionally on Friday. In the fall, we sail at home except for one or two weekend events. In the spring, we mix practice and meets and home and away events. We have about twenty head–to–head team race meets and five to seven additional regattas. We also have events on about half of the weekends in the spring. During the week, those who are not traveling to away meets may have a home meet or practice.
Learn more about the unique experience of being a member of the Sharon high school sailing team.
A swimming test will be administered at the beginning of the season for safety reasons. All school Athletic forms, including Medical forms, are also required to sail. For a detailed description of clothing and other gear that will be required for sailing, especially when the water and/or weather is cold, check out our Gear Page.
If you are interested in joining the team, learn to sail in the years before high school. Here's how!
The genesis of the Sharon High School sailing team was a proposal by a sophomore student, Sam Koval, to start a sailing club in 2002. The idea caught on and over the next several years, the organization grew exponentially.
2002/2003 School Year:
- Fall – The club began with ten sophomore and freshman students using a motley collection of very old boats owned by the town recreation department and four old Tech dinghies borrowed from Wheaton College.
- Spring – The club joined the Mass Bay League, and two on two team racing was introduced using the four Tech dinghies.
2003/2004 School Year:
- Fall – A large crop of eager but inexperienced freshman joined the club, and fall season became “learn to sail” while the spring season was to remain focused on outside competition.
- Spring – Two more Techs dinghies were acquired to facilitate the usual three on three team racing, and the vital tradition of fundraising to pay for new equipment was begun. Founding coach Bob Gaffney was joined by Gary Werden as assistant coach.
2004/2005 School Year:
- Spring – The club became a varsity sport, the team moved up to the B division of the Mass Bay League, and the team raised the funds for and acquired a fleet of seven 420’s. With the additional boats, the team hosted events at the varsity and junior varsity levels simultaneously.
2005/2006 School Year:
- Fall – The team moved to the high school end of the lake, acquired new sails for the 420’s, the coaches swapped positions, and the number of sailors topped thirty.
2006/2007 School Year:
- Spring – All sailors wanted to sail the 420’s, and five more 420’s were purchased for this spring season.
2007/2008 School Year:
- Spring – Additional new sails were purchased. Now with twelve boats having first class sails, we are one of the few public high schools in Massachusetts able to run two simultaneous team races or large fleet races at our own venue.
The team had a great year finishing first in the Mass Bay League B Division in both fleet and team racing, winning the MBL Championship Regatta, and besting all other teams at the MBL Undergrad Championship. We also were ranked eleventh in the NESSA standings and qualified for the wildcard round of the New England Team Race Championship.
2008/2009 School Year:
- Spring – The Sharon sailing team finished the 2009 season with a first place in the 420 fleet, second and third place in the Silver fleet, and second over all at the 2009 MBL Fleet Racing Championship Regatta. We were ranked sixth in the NESSA standings and again qualified for the wildcard round of the New England Team Race Championship. In the State Championship, Sharon did better than any previous year with a fifth place over all. To end the year, Sharon juniors took home first and third place while the sophomores placed second in the MBL Undergrad.
2009/2010 School Year:
- Spring – Six newer 420 boats were purchased to replace six older boats.
- Fall – A good group of freshmen joined the team, many bringing skills learned in the Sharon Summer program or elsewhere. The team sailed in boats from which all autobailers were removed to minimize leaking.
The sailing team placed second in the Courageous Keel Boat Regatta, the Sharon Invitational, the Mark Wild Card Sail-Off, and the Terk Invitational. In 2010, Sharon sailors qualified in the O’Day Qualifier for the first time by beating all comers including traditional favorites, Tabor and Duxbury. Although not placing in the regional finals, the team took another first place at the Mystic Lake Regatta. In the Mass Bay League Championships, the team placed third in team racing and first overall in fleet racing.
2010/2011 School Year:
- Fall – The joining freshmen represented the largest, most experienced and most skilled freshmen group ever.
- Spring – The sailing team started the year placing second in the Courageous Keel Boat Regatta and finished strong with a third place in the Mass Bay League Championship Regatta. There were standout individual performances of second place in the Sharon Invitational B Division and second place in the Mercury Silver Division in the Mass Bay League Championship Regatta. In the State Championships, the team finished tenth.
2011/2012 School Year:
- Spring – The team's greatest successes were in various fleet racing events.
We took second at the Sharon Invitational and first place in the MBL JV Regatta, the Donald Greene, and the MBL Undergrad Regatta. We also placed third in Division A of the MBL's Women's Regatta.
After ten years, our founding coach, Bob Gaffney, retired to spend more time with his family. Expert in all facets of the coaching job, he will be sorely missed.
2013/2014 School Year:
- Fall – In August, the team conducted a Learn-To-Sail Clinic for middle-schoolers and raised $735 for boat repairs.
- Spring – On opening day, our lake was still frozen so we began the season with several indoor training sessions mostly from Handbook material prepared by Coach Gary. Coach Lisa Downey returned for a second year to provide invaluable assistance. The team had their ups and downs with team racing, but excelled in several fleet race events. We won the Sharon Invitational Regatta, the Fresh/Soph Regatta, and the Sharon Fleet Race Friday. For the second tiime in team history, we qualified for the O'Day finals. Finally, we placed third in the MBL Championship 420 A Division and sailed to a team record fourth place in the State Championships.
The team sails from Memorial Beach on Lake Massapoag in Sharon, across the street from the high school. The lake is a mile long and three quarters of a mile wide, and provides typical shifty–wind lake sailing. Our boats are sixteen 420’s that we have acquired (used) over the years. We have the use of a Boston Whaler rescue boat from the Massapoag Yacht Club as well as Coach Werden's own power boat which are helmed by the two coaches. With these resources, we are able to run two team races concurrently, allowing us to have simultaneous varsity and junior varsity races, or three and four way team race events. We can also host good sized fleet race regattas. Ample parking is available on site.
For Directions and a map to Sharon High Sailing, Click Here
Starting with borrowed boats, the Sharon High Sailing program has been built by the extraordinary fundraising efforts of the students and coaches as well as by the outstanding generosity of the community. We continue to rely on fundraising for the maintenance and improvement of the equipment. Besides selling Harbor Sweets chocolates, we produce our annual “Racing the Wind” calendar which generates revenue from the sale of advertisements as well as the calendar itself. Some years, we are also able to conduct elementary sailing clinics for middle schoolers. We are grateful to all of those who have helped us in the past including Eastern Bank which funded some new sails for us with a large grant to the Boosters Club in early 2008.
To make a contribution to the Sharon sailing team, please contact one of the coaches.
The 2015 Fall SHS Sailors