Sharon residents smile when they see sailboats on the lake in all kinds of weather. White sails on Lake Massapoag are iconic to Sharon. They appear on the town’s seal and its 250th anniversary logo. In 2013 and 2015 when Sharon was rated first and third on Money Magazine’s best places to live in the United States, the images juxtaposed with the town name each time depicted a sailboat on the lake.
The Sharon Recreation Department (Rec Dept) offers a very popular multi-session summer program packed with youngsters learning to sail, a prerequisite for making the high school sailing team. In turn, the sailing team provides most of the instructors for the summer sailing program. The team also moves sailboats to the Rec Dept side of the lake each spring and readies their boat launching dock.
The Massapoag Yacht Club (MYC) sponsors a junior sailing program using Rec Dept boats. It also actively supports the high school team by providing a coach boat, periodic donations, and occasionally, the venue for a high school regatta. Each fall, the team returns the favor by helping the club pull out docks and member moorings for winter storage.
On the high school sailing team, sailors learn how to read the wind, advanced boat handling, how to race in both fleet racing and team racing competitions, and something about race management. The best high school sailors find summer jobs with the town's Rec Dept teaching a new generation of young sailors. Many on the team never stop doing the sport they've grown to love. The Massapoag Yacht Club welcomes these team alumnae into its membership.
Sharon is a thriving sailing community comprised of multiple cooperating non-profit organizations.
High School Sailing
The Sharon high school sailing team began in the fall of 2002 with half a dozen students, four borrowed boats, and a volunteer coach. Now, the team has about thirty enthusiastic sailors and sixteen boats. In a league of over thirty schools, the Sharon team has risen to the A Division and is respected for its sailing skill and sportsmanship as well as for ably hosting numerous league and regional events. In recent years, it has won the A Division championship and the huge annual league championship held on the Charles River more than once. In 2017, the team placed second in the state championship behind Milton Academy and was ranked the best public high school sailing team in the state.
The Sharon high school sailing team website has a great deal of detail about the team's makeup, origins, procedures, gear, events, and performance as well as an image and video gallery.
The team is a member of the Massachusetts Bay League (MBL) which includes about thirty public and private schools in the New England region.
WHAT SETS HIGH SCHOOL SAILING APART
- High school sailing is a truly coed sport with girls and boys competing on an equal basis on the same teams.
- Unlike the other sports at Sharon High School, the sailing team is not subject to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) nor is it part of the Hockomock League. Sailing teams in our region, from both public and private schools, abide by the rules and conventions of the Mass Bay League, the New England Schools Sailing Association (NESSA), and the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA.)
- High school sports teams are typically comprised of students who learned how to play that sport some years before, who have played the sport often, and who believe they have skills to contribute in competition. In Sharon, most students joining the sailing team have almost no experience sailing and none in competitive racing.
- It is not uncommon for sailing teams to have both a spring and fall season. For safety reasons, sailing team coaches do not want to accept novices wanting to join in the spring when water temperatures are dangerously cold. Instead, novices begin in fall, learn basic boat handling skills (which includes learning how to right a capsized boat and then how to avoid capsizing) and FLEET racing (a prerequisite for the TEAM racing spring season) when the water is relatively warm. While newbies at some of the other schools in our league have been sailing since a young age, Sharon kids typically bring only a week-long Rec Dept sailing class (or two) experience when they first join the team. Thus, the Sharon team has a fall season as well as a spring season.
- The school's Athletic Director does not do the scheduling for sailing competitions like other sports. This task is handled for a sailing team by the coaches who also, due to the expertise needed, manage the team's equipment inventories.
- Almost all MBL sailing teams rely on regular fundraising efforts to cover the costs of maintaining a fleet of sailboats and participating in somewhat far flung regional meets and regattas.
- When other sports teams cancel outdoor practice or meets due to precipitation or the cold, the sailing team may well be out in the weather. What sidelines a sailing team are bad wind (the absence of it or too much of it), the threat of lightning, or ice on the water!
The Recreation Department
SUMMER SAILING PROGRAMS
Sharon's thriving Recreation Department offers a virtual banquet of programs for the community all year long. Some of their most popular programs are their summer sailing sessions where youngsters can learn to sail.
The Yacht Club
MYC is an extremely active sailing club that boasts competitive sailing for no less than five different sailboat classes. Whether you are brand new to sailing or have extensive experience, the club offers its members and other local sailors organized competitions for all ages from May to October. Over the years, they have hosted several national sailing events as well as local and regional regattas. In addition, they routinely offer learn-to-sail classes and courses on race management and boating safety. The support of junior sailing has always been a priority of the club, and the children of MYC members often take Sharon Rec Dept courses and/or join the Sharon high school sailing team.
Massapoag Yacht Club (MYC) has been going strong for over 70 years.
NOTE: The original founder and head coach of the Sharon high school sailing team is a life-time member of MYC as is the current sailing team head coach.