Of Our Past & Present Sailors/Parents

I am a current member of the Boston College Sailing Team; a team that includes national and international champions and that itself ranks in the top five US College sailing teams. My sailing instruction started during summer sailing camp at Sheridan Shore Sailing School where I quickly graduated from basic sailing and boat handling up to competitive racing in single-handed boats like Optimist and Laser as well as the double-handed club 420. 

By the time I started high school at Loyola Academy I was well prepared to compete on their sailing team. I was proud to contribute as a helmsman in 2014 when the team qualified for both the ISSA Baker Team Racing National Championship and the ISSA Mallory Fleet Racing National Championship. The experience, the mentoring and the friendships I gained during that time will last a lifetime, and it seems like just yesterday when Coach Zac was helping me rig an Opti for my first sail out of Wilmette Harbor, where now you’ll see me coaching the SSSS summer race team.
Griffin ‘Fin’ Elliott  
Boston College 2019
Loyola Academy 2015 - Varsity Captain
Sheridan Shore Sailing School 2012

Hi! I'm Noah. I graduated from ETHS in 2014, and spent my four years in high school sailing for Evanston at Sheridan Shore. I came into high school having only sailed recreationally, and I found myself thrown into the thick of racing from the first day of practice. I absolutely loved it. We started off working on boat handling and eventually built up to full-on tactical racing, with some results I was proud of junior and senior years (all thanks to Irene, of course). My favorite part of sailing at Sheridan Shore was the coaches and great friends, all of whom I still keep in touch with today. They made practice a great blend of training and fun, which is ultimately why I was able to improve so much over the course of high school.

Now I'm the Captain of Northwestern University sailing team. We have a great program and I have had the opportunity to sail all over the country with the team. I try to bring an element of fun and lightheartedness to our practices, which is something I learned to do from Sheridan Shore, and the rest of the team loves it. We have a lot of fun and great racing at Northwestern, but I can't thank Sheridan Shore and the Evanston Sailing Team enough for being the fantastic beginning to my lifelong love of sailboat racing.

Noah Rosenthal
Northwestern University 2018, Captain - NU Sailing Team
Manufacturing & Design Engineering
Evanston HS 2013 - Varsity Captain

My name is Colleen Wiechart and I work for Sheridan Shore Sailing School. I teach Prams and Optis during summer camp and I have the best students ever! I have been a part of SSSS for 4 years. I joined the Evanston Sailing team my sophomore year. I loved it so much that I quit my other sports so I could have more time on the water. Over the next few years, the team grew even bigger and better! My senior year I was a captain of the Evanston sailing team and now I sail in college. I am currently attending the University of Notre Dame and am majoring in International Economics and Arabic. I am looking forward to being back at SSSS next summer!

Colleen Wiechart
University of Notre Dame 2019
International Economics and Arabic
Evanston HS 2015 - Varsity Captain

Sheridan Shore Sailing School became my home for four years during my time at Loyola Academy. Going in to my freshmen year I tried out for the volleyball team and fortunately did not make the team. As a freshmen, I wanted to find a way to get involved at Loyola.  I decided to go out for the sailing team.  My love for sailing only grew after my first experience in a 420 sail boat. Walking on the team with no experience with sailing was not easy, but I developed skills and a passion for sailing that carried with me to college. I am currently at the College of Charleston studying studio art and have had the privilege to be a part of the sailing team at the college. Sailing at Sheridan Shore Sailing School helped me to realize how important sportsmanship and dedication are to the building of a team. Without SSSS and the Loyola sailing team, I would not be where I am today. I am truly grateful for the friendships I’ve made, the skills I have learned, the coaching staff who have supported me, and the goals I have accomplished all with the help of the Loyola sailing team.

Clare Perry
College of Charleston 2019
Studio Art
Loyola Academy 2015 - Varsity Captain

The Loyola Academy Sailing Club has given me some of the greatest experiences of my life. It has taught me dedication, sportsmanship, and leadership. Every day I sat in class itching to get out on the water with the team. Sailing had become such a big part of my life and I have Zac and the staff to thank for that. Not only are you able to learn how to be a good sailor here at Sheridan Shore Sailing School but you also learn many valuable life lessons. The best thing the Loyola Academy sailing team has given me is the friendships and sense of family. It's not just a sport you get into; it’s a lifestyle that I greatly appreciate.

RJ Porter
College of Charleston 2019
Loyola Academy 2015 - Varsity Captain

Hi. My daughter has just completed her third season of sailing under his coaching of Evanston’s team, but she’s also attended Sheridan Shore Sailing School previously, so she’s been a student of his for about six years. Consequently, I feel like I’ve gotten to know Zac rather well…at least in his capacity as a coach/sailing instructor and I really appreciate him.

First and foremost, he has a great depth of knowledge of sailing and racing.  For topics ranging from handling of the boat in various conditions to racing rules or strategies, the sailors see Zac as a trustworthy authority.  He’s also a very effective teacher. He’s very approachable and the sailors are comfortable seeking him out to answer their questions.  He makes use of every teachable moment in practice and at regattas to share this knowledge with them.  

Zac meets the kids where they are in terms of their interest and their comfort level and then finds opportunities for them to challenge themselves. He works to get all sailors into as many regattas as possible and switches them around to maximize their experience and learning given the sailing conditions and risk.  Sailors not only gain sailing experience, the team is also amazingly self-sufficient in terms of logistical details and he provides many opportunities for team members to step up as leaders on the team.
The vibe that Zac has fostered among the sailors and the coaching staff has been positive and encouraging and one of mutual respect.  There is a lot of camaraderie and good sportsmanship among the sailors and it starts with the mutual respect that Zac and the coaching staff demonstrate.

He seems to be a very natural leader. Among the sailors, parents, and coaching staff, his authority is respected and he is clearly in charge.  He’s decisive, establishes priorities, and is comfortable delegating details to others (sailors, coaching staff, and parents alike). Zac recognizes that he doesn't need to control every detail and in fact, can't, so he embraces flexibility, resourcefulness, and the power of delegating which allows good things to happen. 

For proof of Zac’s success as a coach and leader of ETHS’s sailing team, just look at the growth of the team as well as how many sailors return each year.  Most of the sailors that join do return and stay with the program until they graduate.  Also, look to how many have gone on to sail in college. The program is quite successful and as head coach, Zac has been an integral part of that success.

Evanston Sailing Board Member/Parent

Coach Zac has an incredible amount of knowledge regarding sailing, the techniques, the different types of regattas, the different types of boats, boat set up, not to mention the Rules.  In other words, he is a valuable coach to have.  Zac has a great rapport with the Loyola Academy Sailing Club. He manages both groups (Varsity-JV and Club) with fairness.  He has a kind demeanor with the sailors. He makes use of every teachable minute at practice and at the regattas.  The sailors affectionately call him “Dad”.  While racing, Zac is all business. He works hard with the sailors giving good advice before, during and after each race.  We have a strong group of confident sailors through Zac’s mentorship.

In the several years that I have been involved with the team, he has bonded with all the sailors. There is good-natured joking around at times which creates a relaxed atmosphere.  The sailors show respect for Zac’s leadership. The seasons are long and Zac never misses a practice or regatta. Zac is a dedicated coach. The Loyola Academy Sailing Club is very fortunate to have Zac as a coach.  He is a good mentor, leader, teacher and friend to all. 

Loyola Academy Sailing Club Board Member/Parent