Upon her return to school this fall, 14-year-old Merritt Sellers will likely have a different answer than most if a teacher asks students what they did this summer.
It’s certainly doubtful anyone else will be able to answer that they sailed a 36-foot boat alone and won a prestigious sailing race.
On July 17, Sellers and her father Scott won the annual Bayview Mackinac Race, an annual sailing race in Michigan that starts in Port Huron and ends at Mackinac Island, a nautical journey of more than 200 miles.
Remarkably, Merritt Sellers sailed the boat all by herself in the middle of the night — while Scott rested —and overtook their main competitors in the race, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“I sat there, trimming the sail, eating Sun Chips, and thinking about how much I wanted to go to bed,” Merritt Sellers told the Free Press afterward.
The Sellers, who live in Larkspur, California but have a summer home in Harbor Springs, Michigan, ended up beating their main competitors, a boat named “Utah” from Holland, Michigan, by more than an hour.
“We got ‘em at night,” Scott Sellers, 50, told the Free Press after the race. “I worried they would get us. We went from two miles back to two miles in front.”
It was quite an achievement not only from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl sailing a winning boat by herself for so long, but also because a two-person crew won a race on a boat that normally features a crew of eight.
“I’m at a point as a sailor where I’m able to do this. It feels pretty cool,” Merritt Sellers told the Free Press. “Everything was pretty mellow and manageable.”