You could be mistaken for thinking that Friday Night Lights is a new Netflix series, but instead, it is a welcome initiative supporting High School fleet racing in Newport, Rhode Island. For the past eight summers, Friday Night Lights has seen hundreds of high school students race out of Sail Newport, against fellow local school students.
The busy Friday evenings can see up to ten schools from around Rhode Island come together with their sailing teams on a Friday, hitting the water at 3pm before returning to share food and drinks together. The courses are invariably placed close to shore for great spectating by parents and coaches with the whole concept designed to be low-key and get sailors onto the water and racing. With the results treated separately to the NESSA scoring system, Friday Night Lights is a great place for coaches to let their promising sailors get amongst friendly racing and gain valuable experience on the water.
Sail Newport has a fleet of twenty 420’s, all set up for Club Racing. This fleet is often also on the water with teams from High Schools including; Barrington, Portsmouth, Rogers, North Kingstown, Moses Brown, Rocky Hill, Middletown, Classical and Prout.
There is a rotating roster for the High Schools to assist with running the events to help create a culture of teamwork and friendship amongst the teams and sailors. With 6-8 short, sharp windward/leeward races jam-packed into a couple of hours, coaches from each team, along with Sail Newport race coordinator Nick Ewenson, offer their time, support boats, and endless energy to the event.
Doyle Sails Newport expert, Tony Rey, whose daughter Sophia helms the Rogers High School team commented, “The Friday Night Lights race series features everything we love about our sport: lots of close racing, and an opportunity to connect with our competitors off the water after sailing. Watching my daughter and her teammates share laughs with their competitors after sailing is wonderful to see. We are thrilled to partner with the ten Rhode Island high school teams to support this event”
Doyle Sails Newport is proud to support the event this year and welcomes the opportunity for events such as Friday Night Lights to offer unique and valuable experiences to high school students.
Follow the Friday Night Lights programme here.
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