About RTP HS Sailing


About the Team

A Regional High School Sailing Team was formed in 2004. The team is a member of ISSA (Interscholastic Sailing Association), the governing body in the United States for high school sailboat racing. The group includes teams and students from a number of area high schools. The skill level of team members ranges from novice sailors to kids who have grown up sailing and racing. We welcome newcomers from any area high school!

The program started as the Green Hope High School sailing team, but was re-named "Research Triangle Park (RTP) High School Sailing" to accommodate sailors from high schools throughout the Research Triangle Park area. The program continues to grow, and teams from other individual high schools have formed. Current high schools represented on the active roster include Green Hope, Enloe, Chapel Hill, East Chapel Hill, Leesville Road, Durham School of the Arts, Voyager Academy, Athens Drive, and Wakefield among others.

Racing is done in 420's, a 14-foot, double-handed boat that is the boat of choice for high school and collegiate sailing in the U.S. The sailors compete against other high school sailing teams in the southeast, by entering South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association (SAISA) regattas. Members of the team also participate in races and regattas sponsored by the Carolina Sailing Club on Lake Jordan and Kerr Lake, as well as the SAYRA Juniors series (http://sayra-sailing.com/).

About Our Boats

RTP High School Sailing currently has ten functioning practice/racing boats (Vanguard 420's). Six of these boats are fairly new. Two were the result of a donation from the Nicholson family to the Carolina Sailing Foundation. These boats are named the "Adamant" and "Phenomenon". Another new boat, donated by the Manis family, joined the fleet in 2010, named "Resurrection". The Carolina Sailing Foundation purchased another new boat in 2010 and two refurbished boats in 2012. Four boats were purchased from the Lake Norman Yacht Club, and have been repaired to be used as practice boats.

Rest in Peace - 2004-2008 team member Lillian Manis (at the CSF Site)


The South Atlantic Interscholastic Sailing Association (SAISA) is part of the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA), the organizing authority for high school sailing in the United States. SAISA organizes high school level regattas in North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The fall and spring SAISA regattas that we participate in are fleet racing events, raced in 420's. The SAISA regattas are organized by district; we are in the North Points (NP) district. Similar to college racing, each regatta has two divisions of races (A and B). Teams accumulate points throughout the series according to their finish positions - a first finish results in 8 points, a second in 7, and so on. Teams with the highest number of points advance to the NP Gold or Silver Regattas in late spring. NP Gold is for the top eight teams qualifying with the highest number of points. In order to qualify for the Gold Regatta, teams must consist of at least four sailors from the same high school. Teams that qualify in the Gold Regatta may advance to the District Championship, and then the National Championship. NP Silver is for the next tier of teams, and is discussed below.

If a high school does not have at least four sailors, SAISA provides opportunities for growth, through different levels of advancement. Composite teams (formed by sailors representing two or more schools) are allowed to participate in most of the local regattas, but are subject to specific scoring rules that limit advancement to the next level. However, teams that consist of two sailors from the same high school may advance to the NP Silver Regatta, and from there, qualify for the ISSA Great Oaks Invitational Championship for developing teams. Please check the SAISA and ISSA procedural rules at the link below for any changes.

SAISA Rules and related links:

SAISA Supplemental Rules that describe individual and team requirements
ISSA Procedural Rules
Racing Rules of Sailing (2017-2020)
Current SAISA Calendar


SAYRA is the South Atlantic Yacht Racing Association, an organizing body for yacht clubs, sailing clubs and individual clubs in the south Atlantic area. This group recognizes a number of club-based Junior events in throughout the year, and keeps track of results to put together the "SAYRA Junior Series". The SAYRA Junior Series is not team-based but individual or club-based, and includes 420's, Lasers, Sunfish, and Opti sailboats.

The SAYRA Juniors page has the schedule and results. Keep an eye out for this set of events. In particular, RTP High School Sailing members participated in this series last year in 420's and Lasers, mostly in the "off-season" from SAISA. We hope to see more participation this year to help hone skills and bring in more sailors to our group!

About Our Future

High school sailing is a school-based sport. Whether your particular school chooses to make sailing a club or varsity sport is irrelevant to the organizing authority for our regattas. We (the Carolina Sailing Foundation) have permission to field "mixed" teams (that is, teams comprised of sailors from more than one high school) because we are a new organization. We are growing out of that new phase and it is vitally important that we develop teams at each school represented. To that end, sailing clubs need to be established at each school. These clubs need to be student-driven, student-led and may be used for recruiting new sailors to the team. There are several ways to go about this and I offer only a few suggestions:

  • Contact the principal and ask permission to set up an official club with a faculty sponsor and on-school meeting time and place
  • Contact the school athletic director and seek information about informal "club" sports the school may sponsor or be aware of
  • Use social media to set up a high school sailing club within your high school group (make sure you set the privacy settings wide-open so anyone in the high school network can see your club)
  • Set up a booth at your school's CLUB day and solicit contact information from interested students
  • Hold an information session at your house or at Lake Crabtree about high school sailing
  • Offer to teach a sailing course during lunch or after school
  • Hand out flyers to your friends and neighbors
  • Recruit your little sister and her friends
  • Tape posters and pictures of sailing to your locker

Parents, support your teen's efforts on this. Sailing is a unique sport, in that one can be competitive throughout life (into one's 80s), it requires a lot of cerebral thought on top of the athleticism and it is just plain fun being on the water. Planning for team events and regattas requires planning skills that will serve your student well into the future.