MERHS Wins First Annual “Nelson Bowl”


In their efforts to promote youth sailing in Manchester Harbor, the flag officers of the Manchester Yacht Club re-dedicated one of its trophies, enabling it to be awarded to the winner of a series of friendly races between the three High School sailing teams in Manchester Harbor.  Manchester-Essex High School and Landmark School, both with a long history of spring sailing off the MSA dock, were joined this year by Pingree School, which set up its fleet of 420s on the MYC dock.

All three coaches found the new arrangement a great success, since the schools’ small fleets can be combined into one large fleet for much more challenging fleet and team racing.  On one memorable afternoon in April, Pingree and ME simultaneously hosted two visiting teams for a series of team races and we had five schools sailing in our harbor, with many extra motorboats for safety and coaching.  An additional benefit of the arrangement is that all sailors can now learn from three experienced coaches rather than just one.

The format for the series to determine the winner of the Nelson Bowl is team races between each school.  Manchester beat Landmark by a score of 3 to 0, and Landmark beat Pingree by a score of 3 to 2.  In the match between ME and Pingree, the score was tied at two each before racing was called for the day.  The tiebreaker, to take place on the last day of the regular season, consisted of a single match race with one boat per team, because both teams were missing so many sailors.  It was sailed on a Windward-Leeward course, once around, in perfect conditions in the outer harbor.  The Manchester boat was skippered by Anna Brzezinski, with Aiden Harrison as crew. 

At the start of the race both boats were close together, with the Pingree boat nearly able to push the Manchester boat over the line, which would have required her to sail back below the line and restart.  However, Anna managed to stay just below the line at the gun and then “blanketed” the Pingree boat, blocking their wind and slowing them down.  The Manchester boat quickly built a slight lead, and “covered” the Pingree boat all the way up to the windward mark, with an 18 second lead.  On the downwind leg, the Pingree boat managed to close the gap dramatically, but Anna still rounded the leeward mark in the lead.  But from that point on the Manchester boat sailed consistently closer to the wind and gained back the lost distance, and then some.  Anna and Aiden crossed the finish line with a half minute lead, to win the race, the match, and the Nelson Bowl.

Pam Nelson, wife of Valle Nelson who donated the cup in 1979, was on hand to present the Nelson Bowl to Anna and Aiden, along with the keeper trophy, a large silver plate to be held by the winning school.

msa dock, manchester harbor, sailing