Making Waves: Nothing but Smooth Sailing for Bill Colburn, Blake Sailing Team

Anders Ekholm '13, Contributing Writer


Believe it or not, sailing has a significant presence in the Blake community. The Blake High School Sailing Club has members from all grades, including students who have been on the team since 2007.

The Blake team practices at Lake Minnetonka Sailing School in conjunction with Minnetonka High School, Breck, International School of Minnesota, and Orono High School sailing teams, providing a lot of competition to practice with! All of these sailing teams are lucky to be coached by Gordy Bowers, a local to Lake Minnetonka who coached at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, and earned 6 medals for the U.S. Sailing Team.
Though practice differs daily, a typical practice involves drills that help improve boat handling and boat speed, two things necessary in order to compete well in sailing races. The Blake team sails a fleet of 25 420’s, two-person dinghies that are 4.2 meters long (420 centimeters, hence the name). These boats are graciously provided by the Lake Minnetonka Sailing School, and are used for everyday practice as well as regattas that are sailed out of this venue. A regatta is a series of races sailed in the course of 2 days, usually over a weekend.
Recently, various members of the Blake Community have participated in regattas all over the Midwest. In late September, Joe Anderson ‘13 and Anders Ekholm ‘13 traveled to the Chicago Yacht Club in Chicago, Illinois, to compete in a National Regatta Qualifier for a type of single-handed boat called a laser. Both did extremely well, Ekholm coming in 7th and Anderson placing 24th out of a tough competition consisting of 30 boats.
This past weekend, Anderson, Ekholm, Abby Morical ‘12 and Annika Ekholm ’16 traveled to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin to compete in the Great Oaks National Qualifier in 420s. Though the Blake team did not qualify, they recovered after a tough first day, finishing 5th and coming within 4 points of qualifying for the Great Oaks Regatta in New Orleans, LA. Johnny Hartfiel ’17 participated in many Conference Regattas taking place around the Metro Area, and helped win one of them!
Another member of the Blake community who is an avid sailor is visual art teacher Bill Colburn, who spends his summers racing his MC, a flat-bottomed sailboat, around the Midwest. Colburn recently won his fourth consecutive championship at the Inland Lakes Yachting Association’s championship regatta. Congratulations, Mr. Colburn!
Everyone and anyone is welcome to come out and watch. Sailing is an interesting sport to spectate, especially if there is a lot of wind!