PV Graduate Sails To Hawaii For Summer
• Summer after graduation Sea King competes in sail race to Hawaii. For 2017 Palos Verdes High School graduate Kyle Collins, being around the water seems to run in his family.
His grandfathers were commercial fisherman, his father was a long time sailor and his brother was a member of the Palos Verdes High School Sailing Team.
However, before Kyle found his love of sailing, he was a motorcross racer, at the age of four.
As he grew older, he realized that motorcycles got bigger and more dangerous. In addition, the two-hour drive to the track every weekend was difficult.
He was introduced to sailing by his father and his brother. One summer, they signed him up for sailing classes at the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, and he fell in love with the sport. He has continued to sail ever since.
Kyle began to sail competitively at the age of nine, and eventually became a part of the sailing team at PV.
The Sailing Team consists of 25 students, who attend joint practices with Palos Verdes Peninsula High School and Port of Los Angeles High School students.
Students do not need to own a boat to sail, the boats that are used to practice and race in are owned by the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club.
The Palos Verdes Sailing Team practices two days a week, but students are able to practice on other days if they want to. Kyle believes that time on the water is valuable and tries to practice at least five times a week.
“I spend a lot of time trying to learn how to squeeze every last ounce of performance out of the boat. I will do things at practice like put myself in the back of a race and try to catch up. If I can put myself in a bad spot at practice, I will know how to get out of it in a race,” he said.
Sailboat races are called regattas, and there are a wide variety of them.
Some events have sailors racing around buoys, while other regattas are races across the ocean.
A high school regatta could have 30 to 40 boats, with places scored by position. Boats race around a series of buoys to reach the finish line.
According to Collins, sailing can be described as both an individual and a team sport. There are boats that can be sailed by one person, but the boats that Kyle sails require 12 to 15 people to work together.
Sailing is considered an intense sport, with coaches comparing it to “riding a bicycle up a steep hill as fast as you can while playing a game of chess and getting wet with a garden hose at the same time.”
Sailors have to keep track of how they maneuver the boat, the boat’s speed, and finding wind patterns for a tactical advantage.
Earlier this summer, Kyle competed in the 2017 Transpac race to Hawaii. The race started at California’s Point Fermin and finished in Honolulu. The 2225 mile race took Kyle and four other team members just over 11 days.
Collins had never done a race this long. His only other experience close to the race to Hawaii was when he sailed 1,000 miles on the East Coast.
All of the boats competing in the race had to go around the west end of Catalina Island, but it was a navigational challenge from that point on as each boat crew had to decide which route to take based on the future weather conditions.
Kyle and his crew even sailed during the night. At night, they had a watch system where there were always three crew members on deck sailing the boat and two crew members down below resting.
They would be on deck for three hours and off for two hours. Unfortunately for Kyle and his team, their steering cables broke on the fourth day, which led them to fall to last place in their division.
Regardless, the race had to be considered a success as they arrived safely in Honolulu.
Kyle will continue to sail in college, at California Maritime Academy. While the format of sailing stays the same in high school and college, college sailing is more competitive. Kyle encourages those who are interested in sailing to find a local yacht club or find a coach to see what they recommend.