Since ninth grade, Coral Gables senior Grace Howie has worked as a counselor at the summer sailing camp at the Coral Reef Yacht Club.
“I would teach the campers how to sail. I have been sailing my whole life, since I was 7,” she said.
“I learned to sail at the same yacht club.”
Howie is passionate about the sport. In fact, she races 420s for Coral Reef Yacht Club.
“Competing in the regattas throughout Florida, I’ve always been on the podium — top three, top five. In a regatta, in the spring, I got third,” she said.
Nationally, she has always been in the top third, the top 25.
“I started competing when I was 8 in a smaller boat, an Optimist,” Howie said. “Up until I was 14, and then you age out of the boat and go to the larger one.”
The transition going from sailing alone to sailing with a partner wasn’t easy.
“It’s not just you making decisions,” she said. “You have to share your strategies with a partner.”
Howie helped organize Coral Gables Sailing, a team to represent the high school. It’s not an official school sport, but they have been able compete against other schools.
Howie said the team has done well. In races with 20 boats sailing, they would make the top 10. And considering the other teams had coaches, funding and their own boats, Gables Sailing was doing well against big odds.
“Ransom has a varsity team, Gulliver has a varsity team, Westminster is starting one,” she said.
“We had to do it on our own time, but we wanted to compete in the high school regattas. It a was different kind of racing.”
She hopes to continue to sail in college. Wherever she goes, she plans to major in pre-med or biology with the idea of going into physical therapy.
At Gables, Howie is the student council president and vice president of Best Buddies. She is a member of the National Honor Society and co-captain of the varsity basketball team.