2014 Spring College Nationals begin this week

Published on May 26th, 2014

The Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s (ICSA) three national championships, Sperry Top-Sider Women’s National Semi-Final and Final Championship, APS Team Race National Championship, and the Gill Coed Dinghy National Semi-Final and Final Championship commence Tuesday, May 27.

The Women’s event will last for four days immediately followed by the Team Race Championship on May 31, lasting for three days and the Coed Championship on June 3, lasting for four days. The events will be sailed in LaserPerformance Z420s – a new lighter and stiffer style 420 – and Club Flying Juniors (CFJs).

The U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, Md. will be sharing the hosting duties for the three events. These championships are the culmination of two seasons of intense competition and include the top schools from across the nation vying for the championship titles.

The Sperry Top-Sider Women’s racing will take place at the U.S. Naval Academy. The Naval Academy previously hosted a spring national championship in 2007 when they shared hosting duties with Old Dominion University. Racing is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 27, at 9:30 a.m.

The first two days of racing will be the semi-finals, which is divided into two 14-team regattas. These teams have qualified from their conferences to compete in this portion of the championship. The top nine teams from each group will then advance to the finals round – an 18-boat regatta, which will take place on the last two days of the championship, May 29-30. This is a change from previous years, where eighteen teams raced in the semi-finals to determine the nine teams that would face nine teams that had already qualified for the finals. This year, everyone (28 teams instead of 27 previously) will vie for the final 18 spots.

“In the past there was only one fleet available in a lot of venues for racing,” explained Ian Burman, head varsity sailing coach at Navy. “Now that we are switching to basically two fleets at Nationals all of the time there is no reason why the format cannot mirror the way the Coed event is where you have two days of semi-finals and two days of finals.”

“This will be the biggest Women’s Nationals ever and we are really excited about it here at the Academy,” says Burman. “It’s suppose to be warm all week, which this time of year, typically results in a sea breeze, so we are hoping for a light to moderate sea breeze.”

Another change to this year’s Nationals format is that the formal banquets have been eliminated, so there will be a mid-week dinner after sailing for each event and awards will be given right after racing. This reflects what is more typical of collegiate sporting events.

Following the Sperry Top-Sider Women’s Nationals is the APS Team Race Championship taking place at St. Mary’s College on Saturday, May 31. Sixteen of the country’s best team race teams have qualified to compete in the event. Sailors will be competing in Z420s and CFJs. The first round of racing is a single round robin with all 16 teams competing against each other. The top eight from this round will advance to a single ‘championship’ round robin followed by a ‘final four’ round robin, which will determine the top three teams and name the National Champion.

“St. Mary’s College has spent since the 1970’s getting to a point to host the championships at this level,” says Adam Werblow, head varsity sailing coach for St. Mary’s. “Yes, we have hosted regattas before and, yes, we have been a competitive team to be able to win some of these before, but now we have a facility that is worthy of hosting such an event,” he says about gearing up for the events in their new boathouse.

The Gill Coed Championship will begin after the APS Team Race Championship at St. Mary’s College, with racing to start Tuesday, June 3 at 9:30 a.m. Sailors will again compete in Z420s and CFJs. The first two days of racing will be a semi-final regatta, which will include 36 of the top teams in the country, each of which qualified from their conferences to compete. In previous years the semi-finals took place at a different time before Nationals, but now the event has been paired with the finals round. The top nine teams in each semi-final round will advance to the finals round, an 18-boat regatta on the last two days of the championship, June 5-6. This will determine the podium spots and name the National Champion.

Event website: http://2014nationals.collegesailing.org

A video feed, sponsored by LaserPerformance will be available for some portions of the events and live coverage and social media updates from collegesailing.org will also be available throughout the events. Gary Jobson and Chris Love will be filming portions of the Championships for an ESPNU segment, which will initially air on July 13.

The Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) is the governing authority for sailing competition at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada. ICSA website: www.collegesailing.org

Report by Jennifer V. Mitchell

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