When it comes to sailing, some people are just born with saltwater in their veins. Meet Tilly M., an eighth-grader at Carrollwood Day School, whose passion for sailing has led her to remarkable achievements in the sport. This summer, Tilly embarked on a thrilling journey that took her all the way to the Mid-Atlantic Summer Championship, where she showcased her exceptional skills on the water.
Tilly's sailing adventure began in St. Petersburg, Florida, during the school year. However, when summer arrives, she sets her course for Brigantine, New Jersey, where the sea breeze and challenging waters provide the perfect training ground for sailors like her.
When asked how she balances life on the water with everyday life at school, Tilly responded. "Since sailing is very time intensive, I have to be organized with my time. Practice is every Saturday and Sunday and lasts all day from 8-3. Usually, I go every weekend that I don't have a soccer game."
Throughout the summer, Tilly faced fierce competition, but she had a secret weapon—her older sister and CDS Alumni Claire, who also happens to be an accomplished sailor herself. With Claire's expert coaching and Tilly's determination, they made an unbeatable team.
"Overall it was a great summer sailing season," Tilly remarked. "Our team placed first in almost every regatta. Claire has been coaching the team for a couple of years now as a sailing coach so she knows how to manage the training. At the regattas, Claire isn't actually allowed to coach us during the individual races, but she is there on a "support boat" in case we need something and she gives us feedback between races."
"This was my first year as the "lead coach" and it was a little more work, but still fun," exclaimed Claire. "I had to manage the scheduling and the daily course layout. I was really proud of the team and of Tilly. She came in first or second in her fleet at every regatta in our Association this summer and did well at the larger Junior Olympic and Powder Puff regattas too. She has a great coach."
When asked how she became an officer of the sailing team at UVA and a level 2 coach, Claire replied, "Because sailing has been such an important part of my life, I knew I wanted to participate at the college level. I became active in my first semester and raced in several regattas for UVA across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. I was encouraged by my teammates to run for an officer position and decided to run the recreational sailing program where we try to get new sailors on the water every weekend. I took a class to train to be a level 2 coach because is a great credential that shows my level of knowledge and commitment to the sport. Even though sailing was not a CDS sport, CDS taught me to take advantage of opportunities and not stay on the sideline."
Tilly's dedication and hard work paid off as she secured an impressive second-place finish in the summer series, setting the stage for her biggest challenge yet—the Mid-Atlantic Summer Championship. This two-day event attracted sailors from across the United States, all vying for the top spot.
Sailing an Optimist, a class of boats known for their agility and maneuverability, Tilly faced tough competition. However, her skills, honed through countless hours on the water, shone brightly. While the competition was fierce, Tilly's talent and determination carried her through, and she earned a remarkable place in the championship.
Tilly's journey to the Mid-Atlantic Summer Championship is a testament to the dedication, resilience, and passion of our CDS students. We are incredibly proud of Tilly and Claire's achievements, and we can't wait to see where their sailing adventures will take them next. With the wind at their back and the sea as their playground, both ladies are shining examples of what it means to pursue your passion and set sail for success.
Thank you to Tilly and Claire's mother for sharing their remarkable accomplishments. Do you have a story you would like to share with the CDS community? Email us!