Tag Archives: Staples High School sailing team

Roundup: Pizza, Pogue, AAPI …

The Saugatuck space that housed Parker Pizza — which, like its next door neighbor Parker Mansion, closed in March — will have a new tenant soon.

It will be …

… another pizza place.

No further word on Renato’s Brick Oven is available.

Including whether it’s any relation to another Renato’s: the popular jewelry store, across town near the Southport line.

(Photo and hat tip: JD Dworkow)


Earlier this month, David Pogue wowed a Y’s Women crowd with his talk on AI.

Next Monday (May 22, 7 p.m.), he’ll address the same subject — “Artificial Intelligence Gets Real” — for the Y’s Men of Westport and Weston.

You don’t need to be a Y’s Man to go. Wisely, the public is invited.

A Q-and-A follows the Westport tech/media personality’s talk. Click here for more information on Pogue’s event.

David Pogue


Westport’s Business Network International chapter invites professionals to its upcoming Visitors’ Day.

Each business category has only one member. Classifications that are open now  include printer, security systems, HVAC, photographer, travel agent, caterer, florist, event planner, credit card processing, home inspector, moving company, carpet cleaning, flooring, electrician, dentist, personal trainer and clothing/ accessories.

The event is May 25 (United Methodist Church). Open networking takes place from 7 to 7:30 a.m.; a business meeting begins at 7:30.

Pre-registration is required; email cara.mocarski@welcomewagon.com. Click here for more information.


The AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) Westport Book Club’s next meeting is May 31 (7 p.m., Westport Museum for History & Culture.

They’ll discuss “From A Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement” by Paula Yoo. a young adult novel.

AAPI also hosts a happy hour at MoCA this Thursday (May 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.).


The Staples High School sailing team made history last weekend.

For the first time ever, 6 members competed in Boston for the New England Schools Sailing Association Fleet Racing Championships’ O’Day Trophy.

The Wreckers finished 12th overall, in a field dominated by private and boarding schools (and beat Darien High by 10 points).

They finish the season with the Fairfield County Sailing League tomorrow, the state regatta this weekend, and the NESSA girls championships the weekend after.

Staples sailing team coach Gavin Meese (far right) with, from left: Camryn Harris, co-captain Witt Lindau, Tucker Peters, Caitlyn Schwartz, Claire Harris and co-captain Alan Becker.


Organ great Brian Charette makes his first appearance at Jazz at the Post this Thursday (May 18; shows at 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.; dinner begins at 7; VFW Joseph J. Clinton Post 399; $15 cover).

He’s joined by longtimefriend and mentor Bob Devos, plus drummer Jordan Young and saxophonist Greg “The Jazz Rabbi” Wall.

Jazz at the Post shows have been selling out. Email JazzatthePost@gmail.com for reservations; include the number of people, which show, and your cell phone.


Cactus in Westport?

Who knew?

Johanna Keyser Rossi does. She spotted these plants — today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — near the 1 Gorham Island office building, off Parker Hardin Plaza. They’re on the side facing the river.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


And finally … in honor of the rare (for Westport) plant above:

(From cactus to new pizzerias: If it happens in Westport, you’ll read about it on “06880.” Please click here to support your hyper-local blog. Thank you!)

Roundup: Pops, Pride, Paw Prints …


In many ways, yesterday was the first “normal” day in nearly 15 months.

Hundreds of people gathered at Jesup Green for a joyful Pride celebration. hundreds more swarmed Compo Beach, or took boats out on the Sound. At night, the Levitt Pavilion opened its gates for the Westport Schools’ annual Pops Concert.

The previous night’s show was moved by weather to the Staples High auditorium. But last night was as close to old times as anyone could hope for.

The crowd was limited to smaller numbers than usual. But everything else was the same: spectacular music, of near-professional quality. An appreciative, picnic-toting audience.

And, yes, pride and joy, in celebrating our kids, and our town, together again.

Last night at the Levitt Pavilion. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Candi Innaco conducts the band for the final time. She is retiring after 36 years as a music instructor. (Photo/Jerri Graham Photography)


Speaking of Staples: On Friday, the school held its first-ever LGBTQ Art Show.

Two dozen works of all kind were displayed prominently in the main hallway.


Tim Lukens was enjoying yesterday’s weather, listening to music and quietly weeding his flower garden, when he came “literally 6 inches — nose to nose” — with the black bear wandering through Westport’s woods. This encounter was near Wilton Road, just north of Merritt Parkway Exit 41.

Here’s the aftermath:


Barnes & Noble’s Westport store is internationally famous.

Well, at least it got a shoutout in the Financial Times.

A long profile on James Daunt — the Briton who rescued the small Waterstones book store chain from Amazon, and is attempting to do the same now for B&N — mentioned our local shop.

Daunt used the pandemic to rearrange layouts. Stores — including the newly opened one downtown — look less like “libraries”; round tables make them more browser-friendly. Click here for the full story. (Hat tips: Henry Engler, Jon Fraade)

Barnes & Noble Westport: now browser-friendly.


If you’re like many Westport families, you’ve got a few basketballs lying around the house (or garage).

Staples High School sophomore (and player) Zach Brody wants them. He’s organized a collection for Full Court Peace, a non-profit that brings hoops and equipment to communities that need them.

Basketballs will be collected this coming week (June 7 to 14), in a bin in Staples’ main hallway.

Can’t make it to the high school? Email zbrody52@gmail.com to arrange for pickup.



Speaking of sports: The Staples High School sailing team completed another successful season. The varsity had a 5-0 sweep at the Silver cup, and tied Greenwich for 3rd at the state regatta.

The Wreckers compete against other Fairfield County high schools, both private and public. Cedar Point is the host club, and provides the boats.

The Staples High School sailing team.


While a Netflix movie is being filmed in Westport, the Country Playhouse parking lot has been rented to the production crew. It serves as a staging area, through June 16.

Most Winslow Park dog lovers realize it’s a private lot, and heed the signs and staff. Some, though, ignore them, and park anyway.

WCP general manager Beth Huisking says, “We love Westport, and want to be a valued member of the community. To be reciprocated with disrespect from some community members is disheartening.

“When we close the lot it is because we need the space (the hour or so before a performance), or because something is going on that requires us to use all spaces.

“In the case of the production crew, with large trucks and vans pulling through the lot, we want to make sure everyone (people, animals, even cars) are safe. So please, until June 16, park at the Winslow lot on Compo Road North. Thank you.”

One of the many trucks in the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)


And finally … today is the 63rd anniversary of Prince’s birth. The singer-songwriter and producer died in 2016, at 57.


Full Speed Ahead For Staples’ Sailing Team

COVID-19 has done what no opponent can: knock off Staples High School spring sports teams.

Coaches are providing workouts, and staying in touch via video conferences. Athletes are training on their own. Competitions, however, are on hold — perhaps all the way through the end of the season.

Yet one team still sails along.


Staples’ sailing squad is special in many ways. It’s coed, for one thing. Members have experience in everything from 10-foot dinghies to 50-foot sailboats. But they are from different ages, they race in the summer for different clubs, and they’re in a variety of friend groups. Working together in tight quarters, they become a close-knit bunch.

The 2019 Staples High School sailing team.

The 20 sailors meet at Cedar Point Yacht Club. They typically spend 15 hours a week practicing and racing. The vibe is “competitive yet chill,” says senior co-captain Emerson Anvari.

The team — with a bunch of talented juniors — was looking forward to this season. Then the coronavirus raced in.

Emerson Anvari

Still, Anvari says, “we keep our sailing brains switched on.”

That’s because coach AJ Sorenson has found intriguing out-of-the-water experiences for his sailors. The most exciting is Virtual Regatta. An online game, it simulates an actual race as much as possible (without of course real wind, sea spray and booms that can knock you into the water.

The physical engagement — the full-body workout of trying to hike and flatten the boat — is missing. Sitting home with a laptop is “serene,” Anvari admits.

But the 2 competing teams join the same group chat program to simulate the often hectic nature of a race course, when many voices call out across the water. And it sure is fun. Take a look:

Last week, Anvari says, “I found myself really getting into it, getting tingly and excited the way I do when I compete.”

Then his sister called him to dinner, and he realized he was just lying in bed playing a computer game.

Still, Anvari and co-captain Nora Dockter have received great feedback from the rest of the team. They all enjoy the break from their daily routines.

Staples has “sailed” against Greenwich High already. They’re connecting with schools in places they never could compete against in real life — like Annapolis, Maryland — for future regattas.

Cecilia Adams and Emerson Anvari, last year.

Sailing is not the only Staples team using online resources. The girls golf team “practices” at 4 p.m. every day on Facebook. Head coach Patty Kondub — who is also a certified fitness trainer — leads golf-specific workouts Mondays and Wednesdays.

On Tuesdays they focus on skills like putting and chipping, through YouTube and other videos. The girls then post their own videos, and get feedback from coaches.

Thursdays are dedicated to other aspects of the game like rules, nutrition, and mental concentration.

Kondub is even making plans for Senior Day, and and a post-season “banquet.”

It’s not the same as Longshore. But — as the Staples sailing team knows — “any port in a storm.”

The Staples girls golf team.

Wreckers Eye National Regatta Prize

Have you heard of the Staples High School varsity sailing team?

I doubt it. They fly under everyone’s radar.

After this weekend though, you might.

The Wrecker sailors brave uncharted waters today and Sunday. They compete in the New England Schools Sailing Association fleet racing championship. If they are lucky sail well, they’ll advance to the  national finals for the first time in Staples history.

Formed about 15 years ago, Staples sailing has become increasingly competitive in recent years. The team is led by Samantha Parisi, a multi-time North America racing champion in her 1st season here, following stints in San Francisco and Annapolis.

The sailors braved icy winds during trials at Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport. They practice 4 times a week, and hold twice-weekly regattas.

Staples sailors, off Cedar Point Yacht Club.

Staples sailors, off Cedar Point Yacht Club.

“They were excited to get out on the water and hone their skills,” Parisi says. “Now they’re ready to take on a higher level of competition.”

The Wreckers are 7-1 in their league — the best overall record.

The weekend competition will be stiff. NESSA was formed in 1930 by 12 prep schools. It’s grown today to 90 schools — but is still private school dominated. Only a few public school have won New England titles. The only one in Fairfield County was Darien, back in 1973.

Today, Staples races up to 14 times at Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich. The 4 teams with best overall scores heads to Brown University on Sunday, joining 12 finalists from 3 other locations. The top 2 teams there vie for the Mallory Trophy – the national championship – in Charleston, South Carolina next month.

There’s no fan bus. WWPT will not livestream the races.

But — with a bit of luck and the right wind — Staples’ sailors might be the school’s first national champion sports team in history.

Team members include (front row, from left): Eloise Pieper, Zachary Steuer, Lucas Reichhelm, David Adipietro, Nicole Welch, Kelsey Collins, Harrison Ames, Max Haslett. Rear: Cecilia Adams, Charles Krawiec (co-captain), Peter Sauer, William Rudaz, William Dumke (co-captain), Robert Gordon, Burke Anvari.

Team members include (front row, from left): Eloise Pieper, Zachary Steuer, Lucas Reichhelm, David Adipietro, Nicole Welch, Kelsey Collins, Harrison Ames, Max Haslett. Rear: Cecilia Adams, Charles Krawiec (co-captain), Peter Sauer, William Rudaz, William Dumke (co-captain), Robert Gordon, Burke Anvari.