The Daniel Hand High School (DHHS) Sailing Team was faced with a problem and as a team is working together to solve it: The team is in need of the most fundamental component of sailing equipment — the sails!
Often unknown or under recognized, the DHHS sailing team is a committed group. The Madison public school district supports the sailing program with an amazing coach, Brian Stepule. The school provides busing to practice from March to June to the Pettipaug Yacht Club in Essex, and to multiple meets throughout the season.
As luck would have it, the boats are a little banged up but work just fine, but the sails that the team has been using for years finally have come to the end of their useful life! New sails truly are needed to enable the team to be competitive.
Unfortunately, what is not in the athletic budget? Sails. So, the team embarked on a series of fundraisers to procure the funds for sails, including bake sales and car washes.
And the team wisely took advantage of local resources, such as applying for a grant from The Madison Foundation. The team was grateful to be awarded some significant financial support toward their goal from a successful grant application that aligned the objectives of the sailors’ request with one of the Foundation’s funds in which the beneficiary criterion was a perfect match.
The Madison Foundation mission is to “make Madison a better place to live, both now and in the future, be encouraging giving and matching those gifts to the needs of the community.”
Sails are not inexpensive, but this team is determined to upgrade their equipment. The hope is to get sails with proud Madison colors of black and gold and perhaps even include a tiger paw! The Sailing Tigers are sure that improved equipment will provide quite a boost – and it would be “really awesome to see our own sails at a meet.”
The coed team is dedicated! The Tigers compete at meets against schools from around Connecticut and the Shoreline. Competitors include both public and private schools, including The Williams School and Branford High School. Spring practice season takes place at Pettipaug Yacht Club on the banks of the Connecticut River in Essex two or three times weekly from March (brrrrr) through the end of the school year. Pettipaug is an ideal place to learn to master the lifelong sport of sailing and the DHHS Sailing Tigers hope to sport their new sails soon on the Connecticut River and all across the shoreline.