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High School sailing
BHS team headed to southeast district regatta in Charleston

Ben Quigley is realistic about the Bearden High School sailing team’s chances during the South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association District Championship Regatta this weekend in Charleston, S.C.

“We just snuck into this whole competition, so we’re trying to use this as a learning experience and hopefully do really well next year,” said Quigley, a 16-year-old junior, who is skipper and team captain of Bearden’s A-fleet, which features a series of 2-person crews aboard a 15-foot, Club 420 sailing boat.

Both the A-fleet and B-fleet, skippered by co-captain Ervin Grove, will man 12 different boats for 24 races in Charleston.

Based out of Concord Yacht Club in Farragut, Quigley and Grove are part of a five-student BHS team with junior Andrew Jones, sophomore Chris Swanson and freshman Jake Arbital.

Though the BHS team has sailed off the coast of Charleston during previous competitions, adjusting to strong winds and tough currents common to ocean conditions will be a huge challenge.

Challenging teams from Florida and South Carolina who regularly battle such conditions will be a high wave to tackle, said high school coordinating consultant Wayne Cutler.

Quigley said, “We’re going to expect some strong winds, maybe twenty, twenty-five knots, and some strong currents, too. It’s definitely kind of difficult, but we’ve been there before and we kinda know the conditions. But it’s always a challenge going out there in that kind of current.”

Helping Bearden earns its trip to Charleston was its performance in a SAISA North Division regatta on Lake Norman, N.C., in late March.

Among a 16-team field, Quigley’s A-fleet finished first overall, while the BHS team as a whole took third-place.

Quigley is among the BHS sailers with years of experience.

Taking up sailing during a Concord Yacht Club summer sailing camp, “I started back when I was seven,” Quigley said. “I’ve been doing it competitively since I was about ten.”

The BHS junior said he’s motivated by “the challenge, and it’s fun being with your friends out doing that kind of stuff. I’m planning on doing it in college, but I’m not quite sure about doing it in varsity, because it’s kinda like taking all of your time.

“But I’m definitely looking at colleges that sponsor sailing clubs, varsity and junior varsity teams. I definitely plan on taking it to college.”

Is sailing an expensive hobby for high school students?

“I guess it kinda depends on how much sailing they plan on doing and how far they want to take it,” Quigley said, “because all of our regattas are out of town, as far as Florida and New York, so that aspect of it can be really expensive.

“I guess to do it recreationally, just look into a membership at Concord Sailing Center,” he added. “Or better, look into doing sail camp, that’s not too expensive, and they offer scholarship type things, too.”

Although they did not earn a spot in Charleston, Webb School of Knoxville sponsors sailing as a varsity sport versus the club status of teams at BHS, Farragut and Knoxville Catholic high schools.

Adri Kopp, a Webb sophomore sailer who said she started at age 6 and has been racing since age 8, added that she enjoys “the freedom I get in the boat.”

For more information of high school sailing or the Concord Yacht Club sailing camp, visit:

Look for a story on the Farragut sailing team and Knoxville Catholic sailers in a future issue of farragutpress.


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