Smooth Sailing this Week for the Hingham Harbormen


Sailing practice after school in Hingham Harbor By: Parker Bradl

Parker Bradl, Contributing Writer

The scene at Hingham harbor on Monday was of sleek white vessels cutting through the bright blue water, rapidly keeling over from side to side, as each boat jockeyed for position around bright red buoys bobbing in the water and sunlight from parting rain clouds illuminated the water below. Sailing into the dock at the Hingham Yacht Club (which has graciously hosted the sailing team in its off season through the years), the sailors of the Hingham sailing team were quietly elated, as they had just beaten the Norwell/Notre Dame Academy sailing team in a 3 on 3 boat sailing team race. 

In team racing, 3 boats from one team sail against 3 boats of another team on a course marked by buoys, in which the winner is decided by what combination of places their team gets. As long as the places add up to 10 or less, the combination is winning.

Madeleine Accettella and Izzy McGarr, two Hingham High freshmen who sailed in a boat together for the sailing teams varsity on Monday, described how they were able to win their last race. “Julia (Scipione) and Caroline (O’Hara)’s boat had finished in first, while me and Izzy, along with Ellie (Smith) and Sarah (Menesale)’s boat were sailing in the final leg of the race, when the other team triple teamed us, and we had to jibe around to escape,” Madeleine said, before Izzy added, “Luckily though, Sara and Eliie ended up getting the second place for us, and we were able to execute a great roll tack to finish after our team got a winning 1-2 combination.” 

Hingham ended Monday by winning a hard fought three races against NDA/Norwell, returning to the dock to a rare rainbow extending from Button Island to World’s End. After a practice on Tuesday, they were able to replicate their success with BC High, with their varsity winning 5 races, and the Hingham junior varsity winning three races after initially losing one. 

However, perhaps the most memorable meet the Hingham High sailing team had this week was their shortest, when they had an away race against the Duxbury Sailing Team on Thursday. Initially, the race against Duxbury was business as usual, with the Hingham varsity winning their first race, despite the low wind. After the varsity race finished, the first JV race began, in which Chris Hoppe, a sophomore at Hingham High, proved to be the hero with a start that left all of the Duxbury boats in losing positions.

 “At the start I noticed that a few of our boats were behind the Duxbury boats, so I tacked off on to port and then quickly tacked back to starboard and went to the left side of the course and had rights over the port tack boats. As they moved to legally avoid me, I saw two of the boats crash into each other, which I protested, before I had to avoid and protest the third duxbury boat that didn’t move fast enough to avoid me, resulting in all three boats having to do penalty turns. We sailed fast after that, with Madeleine making a crucial move at the leeward mark, and got a 1-2-3 winning combo,” Chris Hoppe recalled, looking back on the day. 

As the Hingham boats prepared to begin another race, the coaches suddenly called everyone back to shore, unceremoniously ending a long anticipated meet between both of the teams. Initially startled about what happened, Audrey Smith and Pippa Jiranek, a freshman and sophomore at Hingham, respectively, described the odd situation. “Me and Audrey were sailing on JV in the Duxbury race, and we only got one race in, but we won in a 1-2-3 position thanks to the protest Chris got at the start” Pippa said, before Audrey interjected “But suddenly, there was a thunderstorm nearby, so we had to go back and de-rig. They had us tie up our boats on a floating dock in the harbor, before we were rushed back to the maritime center to get out of our gear.”

Although the race against Duxbury may not count for Hingham in their division due to the storm, the team agrees it was a fun week, with consistently good sailing throughout every weather event, from rainbows to lighting. Ellie Smith, a junior at Hingham High and captain of the sailing team reflected on the week, saying, “I’m really proud of how our team did this week against NDA/Norwell, BC High, and Duxbury, since all of those teams have a lot of skill, but we were able to out-sail them this time around. As long as we keep up the hard work, I’m optimistic that our meets this weekend will go great as well.” 

Led by coach Joe Griffin, the Hingham sailing team continues to grow through the 2023 spring season, as with each major win they not only improve their division ranking, but spread awareness about the joy of sailing to those in the Hingham community who want to get out on the water and enjoy the benefits of living in New England to the fullest.