College Nationals: Top 18 teams advance to Women’s Finals

Published on May 28th, 2014

Annapolis, MD (May 28, 2014) – Racing continued today on the Severn River at the U.S. Naval Academy in the second day of the Sperry Top-Sider Women’s Semi-Finals. Twenty-eight collegiate sailing teams from across the nation qualified to compete in these semi-finals to determine the top 18 teams who will advance to the finals, which begin tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

The 28 teams are divided into two fleets of 14 teams, Western and Eastern Semi-Final groups, with the top nine from each fleet advancing to the final.

Today the fleets swapped the type of boats that they were sailing from yesterday, so the Western fleet sailed in Z420s and the Eastern fleet sailed in FJs. The courses were again windward leeward with four legs.

The conditions in the morning were light winds around six miles per hour from a north northwesterly direction and temperatures in the high 70s with pretty high humidity. As the day progressed there was some cloud cover and a brief light rain. The temperature increased to around 80 degrees, while the wind continued to come from a northwesterly direction averaging about five miles per hour. By the end of the day the wind got very light and variable and shifted to a southeasterly direction.

The deadline for racing today was 5 p.m. and the light winds at the end of the day made it difficult to squeeze in the racing before the deadline. The Western Semi-Final completed five races today in both A and B-divisions for a total of 11 races for the event. The Eastern Semi-Final had two more races to sail in B-division this morning, so they completed six races today and four races in A-division for a total of 10 races for the event.

The University of Rhode Island (URI) was leading the Eastern fleet after yesterday’s racing, but today they fell to second place on a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“It was exciting until the last B-division race,” Matt Cohen, co-head coach of MIT says. “Our B-division was a clutch pairing for the whole event, but especially today. They knew that they had to finish with at least one boat between them and URI in the last race.” The girls accomplished this on the last quarter of the run when Eckerd College finished behind MIT and in front of URI in the race.

Cohen attributes this success to the confidence their B-division sailors have gained over the course of this year, Hanna Vincent ’14 and Lisa Sukharev-Chuyan ’16. Also sailing well for MIT in A-division was Chloe Lepert ’15, Rosalind Lesh ’16, Iris Xu ’14 and Elizabeth Zhang ’16.

“Doing well yesterday and today has given us the confidence to move into the finals knowing that we can play with top competition,” says Cohen.

Yale University was leading the Western fleet after yesterday’s racing and they were able to hold on to their lead today.

“Our goal was to sail as well as we could in this event and move into the finals,” explained Bill Healy, assistant coach of Yale University. “We really wanted to work on getting to know the Z420s and I feel that we did that. We learned a lot in this event and in the finals we will sail smarter beats and not be too risky when the conditions are light and variable, as they have been.”

The scoreboard is wiped clean for the finals tomorrow, so the 18 teams will start fresh in the new event. Racing begins at 9:30 a.m.

Top Nine Teams – Eastern Semi-Final:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 90*
2. University of Rhode Island, 90*
3. Boston College, 106*
4. Old Dominion University, 106*
5. Stanford University, 108
6. Brown University, 121
7. Georgetown University, 125
8. Eckerd College, 128
9. Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 137
*Head-to-head tiebreaker
Full results

Top Nine Teams – Western Semi-Final:
1. Yale University, 69
2. Dartmouth College, 92
3. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 102
4. College of Charleston, 110
5. U.S. Naval Academy, 132
6. University of Hawaii, 152
7. Bowdoin College, 159
8. University of South Florida, 163
9. University of Wisconsin, 167
Full results

Event website:

Following the racing, the Graham Hall award for Outstanding Service by a College Sailing Professional was presented to Scott Ikle, head coach of the Hobart and William Smith sailing teams. Ikle has been involved with college sailing since the 1980s as both a competitor and coach. He has served as a director for the Mid-Atlantic conference for 15 years and has worked to ensure fair sailing, develop great talent for the conference and also help make the profession of a college sailing coach better.

Report by college media.

The fall and spring seasons of college racing focuses on six National Championships. In the Fall season were the Match Race Nationals and Men’s and Women’s Singlehanded Nationals. The Spring season closes out with the ICSA/Sperry Women’s Nationals (May 27-30), College Sailing/APS Team Race Championship (May 31-June 2), and the College Sailing/Gill Coed Championship (June 3-6). Event website:

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