By Brian Deakyne
OCEANPORT – The Red Bank Regional High School Sailing Team captured a state championship on Saturday, May 18. The Bucs finished with 49 points, edging out Christian Brothers Academy, which finished with 52 points at Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club.
Red Bank rallied in the field after falling to fifth place after four races. Overall, the Bucs won four of the 16 races to climb back and top CBA, Princeton, and Rumson-Fair Haven.
The win capped off an impressive spring season for Red Bank, which sails in the fall and spring. After opening the season in the last week in March, the Bucs finished in third place in the New Jersey qualifier regatta for the national championship on April 13. Red Bank later finished in second place in the Connecticut state championships, falling one point behind Greenwich. With 20 open slots, and only 16 in-state schools competing, the Bucs were awarded a spot in the competition through a lottery.
Additionally, Red Bank won the girls sailing state championship on May 4. Led by senior skipper Caroline Garth, along with senior Gabi Neubelt and sophomore Dominique Nuebelt, the Bucs came out victorious in a 10-team field.
“I’m really proud of these kids and they’ve worked very hard all season for this,” Red Bank Regional coach John Garth said. “As their coach, I’m very proud to see the improvements that they have all made.”
Senior skipper Max Neubelt, who will continue his sailing career with the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (N.Y.), played a big role in the Bucs’ successes this year. Caroline Garth will continue her sailing career at the University of Pennsylvania.
The New Jersey state championships featured 23 teams, including Christian Brothers Academy and Rumson-Fair Haven. There are more than 500 sailing teams nationwide, according to coach Garth.
Red Bank has had a sailing team for seven or eight years with most of the team members starting to sail in youth programs at ages 8 or 9, Garth said.
The Bucs practiced two-to-three times each week this spring, and often competed in regattas in Toms River on the weekends.
Red Bank’s three seniors, Max Neubelt, Gabi Neubel, and Caroline Garth, have sailed together for all four years of high school competition.
“Between the girls’ state championship and the overall state championship, it’s been a very exciting year for everyone,” Garth said.
Each regatta is held using boats owned by the club sponsoring the competition. In the Connecticut state championships, the boats were owned by the U.S. Coast Guard. Boats used on Saturday were owned by the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club.
The competitions are scored on a points system. A win equals one point; second place is two points, and so on. The team with the lowest number of points at the end of the competition wins.