With frigid winters and frozen ponds, Minnesota is typically not the first place most imagine suitable for a sailing team. But, for a select few at Edina High School, Minnesota is the perfect location.
The Edina Sailing Team is a high school sport that allows students to discover their interests in activities both on land and in the water. Sometimes confused with the rowing team, sailing is a sport that consists of two high school athletes navigating a small sailboat in races referred to as ‘regattas.’ The EHS Sailing Team is a member of the 55-school league, known as The Midwest Interscholastic Sailing Association (MISSA), a subdivision of US Sailing. MISSA hosts regattas throughout the country. “[In a regatta] there are two fleets: the A fleet and the B fleet. You have two people in each fleet sailing, and then the scores together give you your final result. You want the least points,” sophomore Virginia Higgins said.
The Edina Sailing Team meets three times a week and occasionally on the weekend. With Minnesota lakes freezing in the winter, the sailing season is planned around water temperature, so the season dates differ slightly each year.
Higgins joined the team in eighth grade after her older sisters competed on the team and convinced her to join. Her passion for sailing before joining the team, sparked by sailing at many camps she attended, made joining the team an obvious choice.
Along with varsity and JV skill levels, the team also has a ‘Learn to Sail’ team for those students who may not have prior sailing experience. “I did know how to sail before going on to the high school team, but we have had a lot of people join and had no experience and really loved it,” Higgins said. This team makes the activity inclusive to any student interested in the sport.
The sailing team at Edina has 20 students, but Edina partners with Minneapolis high school teams to practice together and improve as a group. One of the aspects of sailing Higgins likes the most is the social nature of the sport. “You get to meet a lot of other people from other schools, and we all work together,” Higgins said. Edina’s partnership with Minneapolis teams allows sailors a more social experience through interacting with non-Edina students.
Being a part of a high school sailing team is a unique activity most EHS students do not participate in, but nonetheless a great opportunity to get involved in high school extracurriculars. “Being a part of a high school sailing team is a title most people cannot claim,” Higgins said. Sailing’s uniqueness drove Higgins to start sailing, but it is the sports outdoor nature and social environment kept her on the water.