Collin Porter, the kid from Savannah, could deal with the shifting breezes, the chilly temperatures and 17 other high school sailors trying to beat him for a national title on a Michigan lake.
But rain, sleet and hail?
Turns out, the Savannah Country Day senior could handle those, too.
Porter, 17, captured the ISSA Cressy Championship Regatta in the Laser Full Singlehanded Division last weekend on Lake Macatawa near Holland, Michigan.
‚ÄúThe conditions were something I‚Äôve never sailed in before,‚ÄĚ Porter said after returning to his native Savannah. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve never sailed north of Virginia in the cold in the winter months. It was like 45 degrees. It hailed.‚ÄĚ
The regatta featured 18 male sailors in 14 races to determine the national high school champion in the Laser class. Points are awarded in each race based on finish (one point for first, two for second, etc.). The lowest score wins.
‚ÄúUsually in a regatta, you can drop your worst score,‚ÄĚ Porter said, noting how the Cressy was different. ‚ÄúThese races all counted. It‚Äôs about being as consistent as you can be.‚ÄĚ
Porter posted finishes of fourth, eighth, first and second to lead after four races. He won the fifth race. However, he trailed Caden Scheiblauer of Santa Barbara, California 29-30 after when Porter placed 14th and Scheiblauer first.
Then it was all Porter in the lead after finishing third, third, 12th, second, second 11th, 10th and 10th. He said it hailed during the 10th and 11th races, when he had back-to-back seconds.
‚ÄúIt was kind of funny,‚ÄĚ the Georgian said of doing so well in the hail.
‚ÄúThe conditions were pretty tricky and not conditions you see often,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚Äúsailing in areas with super shifty breezes. The breeze comes out of one direction, then shifts 30 degrees. Everyone had trouble.‚ÄĚ
Porter relied on his sailing experience, watching how the breeze moved over the water. He studied the Radial fleet which competed earlier on the same course to see what strategies worked and what didn‚Äôt. ‚ÄúI used them as kind of a guide,‚ÄĚ Porter said.
After two full days on the water and 14 races of about 25-30 minutes each, Porter was cold and wet and happy. He won his first national high school title decisively with 83 points, seven better than Scheiblauer.
Porter couldn‚Äôt stay for the awards ceremony, as he had to catch a plane to get back to Savannah on Sunday night so he wouldn‚Äôt miss class Monday. The tight schedule is routine for the teen.
In a typical week, he takes classes Monday through Friday at Savannah Country Day, with a course load of AP biology, AP statistics, AP economics, AP literature and pre-calculus/intro to calculus. The 6-foot-2, 170-pounder goes home, works out twice and does homework.
After school on Fridays, he will travel by car to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, so he can train each weekend with the Lauderdale Yacht Club Laser racing team.
Porter will sleep or read for about half the seven-hour-plus trip south while a parent drives, then take over driving duties for the ‚Äúgraveyard shift.‚ÄĚ Collin is blessed to be able to ‚Äúsleep on command.‚ÄĚ
He‚Äôs also blessed because his father, John Porter, is a former national champion sailor in the Olympic Finn class with three U.S. Olympic Trials to his credit.
Sometimes the Porters will carpool with a sailing friend from Charleston, S.C. They sail all day Saturday and much of Sunday, then return to Savannah by midnight so he can go to school Monday.
It‚Äôs a routine he‚Äôs followed since the second half of his sophomore year as he targets a college sailing career.
‚ÄúI love (sailing),‚ÄĚ said Collin, who began learning to sail at age 7 at the Savannah Yacht Club. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not for everybody, but I‚Äôve built up a real passion for it over time.‚ÄĚ