MHS student skippers boat and places third at Junior National Regatta

Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jul 24, 2013 - 02:29 PM

A 14-year-old Hudgins resident placed third in the Windmill Class Junior National Regatta held last Thursday at Fishing Bay Yacht Club in Deltaville.

Michaeldión Davis-Ruskovich, a rising Mathews High School freshman, was the skipper on the 15-foot Windmill sailboat, which is owned by Collin Browning of Tampa, Fla. Browning served as crew.

The three-hour regatta consisted of three races, said Capt. Will Story (USN-ret.), who has been mentoring Michaeldión for the past 2½ years. All three races were about the same distance, he said, but each one was oriented differently for different kinds of sailing. Michaeldión and Browning came in third, first and fifth, giving them the points to finish third overall.

Story said that Michaeldión has developed the knowledge and skill required for sailing and is "a fine seaman." It’s quite an accomplishment to win a national race the first time out, he said. Competitors in the race came from as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Florida, and as far west as Kansas.

Michaeldión said the captain taught him to sail on both a 14-foot Drascombe Scaffie and a 32-foot Morgan 323. As the young sailor reeled off such details about the boats as how they’re rigged, what kinds of sails they have, and the different ways they handle, Story said Michaeldión had perfectly mastered nautical terminology.

Although he had been interested in sailing before, Michaeldión said he never had a chance to sail until he and his mom, Constance Davis, moved into a cottage on the property on Lane’s Creek where Story and his wife, Martha, live. Story took him under his wing and eventually trusted him to sail the Morgan as skipper. Michaeldión even helped the Storys sail to New York earlier this year.