There were audible gasps of excitement when Joan Storkman, Narrows Race Team Co-Coordinator and Director of the GHYC Junior Sail Program, made a stunning announcement to the members of the Gig Harbor Yacht Club and Junior Sail Board. Four Charles Wright Academy students from the Narrows Race Team went head-to-head against 19 of the best high school sailing teams in the country at the ISSA Fleet Racing National Championship. Alyosha Strum-Palerm ’17, Nicholas Lee ’20, Jack Corddry ’19, and Hayden Flaskerud ’20 beat out high school teams from all over Washington and Oregon to clinch the title of 2017 NWISA Fleet Champions, qualifying them for the most prestigious national prize in high school fleet racing, the Mallory Trophy.
The success of this local, homegrown team was made possible due to the combined efforts of the Tacoma Yacht Club and Gig Harbor Yacht Club. Recognizing there were sailors floating around local high schools and home schools, not numerous enough or funded enough to sustain their own official teams, the two yacht clubs formed the Narrows Race Team. Since its inception, the TYC and GHYC have generously provided the necessary equipment, coaching, and administrative support to allow teens like Corddry, Lee, Flaskerud, and Strum-Palerm, to sail competitively all over the Northwest and now, across the country.
Joan Storkman states, “We do this because of the satisfaction we feel in helping young people get out on the water to experience the joy of boating.”
Introducing local children to sailing has long been a mission of both yacht clubs. Current Northwest Fleet Champions Corddry, Flaskerud, and Lee all got their start through the TYC and GHYC Junior Sailing summer camps which provide comprehensive instruction in sailing for children ages six to eighteen.
Accompanied by Narrows Race Team coach, Ashley Nelson, the Pacific Northwest was proudly represented by skipper Alyosha Strum-Palerm with crewmate Nick Lee and skipper Jack Corddry with crewmate Hayden Flaskerud. Sailing under the Charles Wright Academy banner, they alternated between Collegiate ‘Turbo’ Flying Juniors and ‘Turbo’ Fireflies.
In a final message to the team as they boarded their flights to nationals, Storkman writes, “The excitement of Race team winning the NWISA Doublehanded Championship has been an over-the-top emotional wave that we all are sharing with you! Please know we are ALL behind you—no matter how you place—as you sail this weekend in Boston.”
Races for the Mallory Trophy took place Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 and was held on the Charles River Lower Basin out of the MIT Sailing Pavilion. Point Loma High School (San Diego, CA) ultimately topped the 20-boat fleet to win the Mallory Championship, but a well deserved congratulations goes to the Narrows Race Team for their incredible accomplishment!