Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Raptors Sailing Wraps up the Fall Season

Introducing the 2023-2024 Academic Magnet Sailing Team

With December comes the end of the fall sailing season and the start of the team’s hibernation until mid-January. Raptors sailing has had an extremely strong start, placing 1st in the region out of twenty-two teams. After finishing 7th in the SAISA North division for the last two years, we have worked hard to achieve this high placement and aim to continue succeeding in regional competition in the spring.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Raptors sailing team, we are a club sport at Academic Magnet, but similar to the varsity teams in many aspects. Our district, The South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (SAISA), consists of teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida (excluding the panhandle), and the Caribbean. Every year, we compete in seven “points” or regional regattas within our division, which comprises all the mentioned states, excluding the southern part of Florida and the Caribbean. To prepare for these highly competitive regattas, we practice twice a week in the Charleston Harbor on 420s, a two-person dinghy.

Our team has already undergone change this year as our head coaches, ex-roommates Johnny Fewell and Jordan Wiggins, left Charleston to pursue new jobs. As a result, their positions were filled by two new coaches, Joel Bays and James Renneker. Coach Joel has very high hopes for this year and is confident we could win the coveted district championship. Despite the recurring threat posed by the South Florida and Caribbean teams and other strong North division teams, he remains optimistic, and even believes we could punch our ticket to nationals.

Team members posing with Granger Osbourne.

According to Porter Gaud sailor Granger Osbourne, we have “some of the best 420 sailors in Charleston.” This year, the sailing team boasts eighteen members: five seniors: Alexa Conlon, Grace Gast, Thomas Hamilton, Lawton Harper, and Caroline Uram (me); three juniors: Garrett Davis, Elizabeth Hample, and Lillian Osbon; five sophomores: Charlie Claus, Mason Fisher, Louise Martin, William McCarty, Alessandro Mazzi; and five freshmen: Connell Grubb, Hank Houseal, Clayton Kotz, Owen Russell, and Nicholas Turco. Alessandro Mazzi, a transfer student from Wando, has been very impressed with the team: “I came to Magnet because my parents forced me. I joined the sailing team because my parents forced me. But I kind of like it.”

To share even more insight into our team, I documented our “fourth” regional regatta. A regatta is an event comprised of a series of races, and on the subject of them, Elizabeth Hample stated, “I like regattas because they are fun and we get pizza usually.” North Points #4 occurred at Carolina Yacht Club on 12/2. For the last three regional regattas, we have had to drive between three and six hours to get to the lakes we were competing at. A team of sailors even flew to New Orleans to compete in an invitational regatta before Thanksgiving break. So, as this was the first of our two home regattas, we were grateful to have had a break from traveling. North Points #4 was also the first regatta where we brought a JV team, which means we had teams competing in both the varsity and JV/composite divisions.

Alessandro Mazzi being towed
Coach Joel towing

At 9 am, I met Alessandro at Charleston Yacht Club (CHYC) to rig the varsity boat while the rest of the team went to Carolina Yacht Club (CYC) to wait and rig the JV one. At most other regattas, all the boats are in one place, but CHYC has more boats, and CYC has a better race spot. After a skipper’s meeting, where all the teams came together to listen to the race committee give instructions, we tied onto a tow boat and made our way around the Charleston peninsula. When we got to the other side of the peninsula, we were untied and began practicing for what we thought would be a long day of racing.  

That was some of the densest fog I’ve seen over the harbor.”

— Mason Fisher

We then sailed over to the dock to talk with Coach James and grab breakfast. After, we continued to sail around the area near the club and talked with some of our favorite teams, Lucy Beckham and Porter Gaud. However, our day of sailing stopped abruptly as the fog in the harbor thickened, forcing the race committee to put us into postponement until it cleared.

Picture taken from SAISA High School Sailing Facebook page.











Unfortunately, that was the only sailing that took place that day. After four hours of waiting for the postponement to be lifted, the fog finally cleared, and the wind filled in. However, the race committee decided to call off the regatta and send us home. For a regatta to be official, six races needed to occur, and with there being less than three hours of sunlight left, this would not be possible.

Despite a long day of sitting around and waiting for the weather to clear, we still managed to have fun. Alexa Conlon, who was really looking forward to her second regatta, said, “It was definitely a regatta to remember, mostly because we did everything but sail. I really got to spread my wings and bother half the dock, though.” 

For once in my sailing career, I was actually ready and sort of excited to sail.

— Alexa Conlon

Alexa Conlon taking a photo with Charlie Claus instead of helping to rig her boat.







This regatta demonstrates one of the most difficult challenges that come with sailing: unpredictability. The weather forecast told us that it would be raining most of the day, but instead, we were presented with fog. As sailing is contingent on the conditions, the regatta had to be cancelled. These circumstances were extremely disappointing as we lost an opportunity to earn points to better our overall scores and ensure that we can maintain first place. However, we are hopeful that the conditions will be sufficient enough at the remaining three regattas, and we look forward to competing in the spring!

Follow our Instagram to stay up to date with the team and its endeavors: Academic Magnet Sailing Team (@amhs_sailing) • Instagram photos and videos

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