College Sailing: Spring Season Update

Published on April 11th, 2017

As Spring Nationals approach next month, it was a busy weekend to see who would be going to the dance. Chris Klevan reports.

#1 Yale and #5 Navy win Fowle and Prosser Trophies. Team Racing Championships concluded in MAISA and NEISA as the top teams in each division squared off.

The Fowle Trophy, New England’s Team Race Championship, was sailed on Mystic Lake, home of the Tufts University Jumbos. Forty degree weather and massive, unwieldy puffs greeted the sailors Saturday morning.

Appropriately, the feel of the regatta was that of a typical morning at West Kirby Yacht Club; with small courses, short on water, unusual marks sporting numbered flags whipping in the wind and great team racing. It was hard not to think of the Wilson Trophy, the UK’s Team Race Championship. To be able to capture this spirit of team racing made Tufts an ideal venue for this edition of the qualifier.

The #1 Yale University Bulldogs took care of business in victory. This was the expected outcome as Yale has been the best team throughout the past half-decade. It was the other three New England berths offered that were largely uncertain.

Last weekend we saw the seemingly immortal Bulldogs look beatable as they were defeated at the Marchiando by a hot #4 Dartmouth Big Green in conditions that did indeed look similar to what was seen over the weekend on Mystic Lake. However, nothing seemed to prepare some of the best team race teams in the nation for what would be rolling down the hills bordering Mystic Lake.

As some predicted, #12 Tufts looked good at home and in the Lark, a boat that’s perfect for the lake and team racing in general. Tufts finished the regatta second overall and will be heading to Nationals due to an extremely clutch finish going 5-0 in the top 6 final round. #11 MIT also looked strong.

Similar to Tufts, MIT knows how to team race in the unpredictable waters of the Charles River, the iconic college sailing venue in New England. That coupled with the coaching expertise of team race champion coach Matt Lindblad, MIT won the top-8 second round with a 6-1 record. Both Tufts and MIT boasted 15-8 overall records.

What few predicted was that the final qualifying spot would be decided between #4 Dartmouth, #2 Boston College and #13 Roger Williams. Tied with Dartmouth, and not owning the tie-breaker at 14-9, the BC Eagles claimed the final spot with a late win over Yale. Roger Williams finished one win behind with a 13-10 record. Neither #4 Dartmouth nor #13 Roger Williams will be present in the field of 16 at the Team Race National Championship, May 27-29.

The #1 Yale Bulldog’s effort came from team race stalwarts, Ian Barrows (‘17), Mitchell Kiss (‘17), Malcom Lamphere (‘18), Nic Baird (‘19) and crews Natalya Doris (‘17), Clara Robertson (‘17), Chris Champa (‘18), and Graceann Nicolosi (‘20). Yale finished the regatta with an impressive 18-5 record and the question now becomes, which of the qualifying teams is up to the task of knocking off the perennial favorite.

“We were happy to accomplish our main goal of getting to the Nationals this weekend, and coming away with a win was an added bonus in such a shifty, volatile venue,” said Yale assistant coach Joe Morris.

“There are some clear takeaways from the racing as well, so it’s great to have some focus on the things we need to work on in the long period between now and June,” continued Morris. “The team is very talented, but diverse. Each of the sailors brings quite a different set of skills/personality to the group, which can be both very useful and very challenging in terms of balancing the starting team.”

Morris is a 2012 Yale graduate, All-American and Olympian. reflected on the success of this Yale team.

“The team’s recent success can be attributed to a number of things but, in my eyes, nothing else truly compares to hard work and focus,” said Morris. “This group works hard, and much of that is a result of the culture created by the previous sailors and the head coaches Zack Leonard and Bill Healy.

“Having such a rich history stretching back to 1881, I think the team really values and is motivated by the sailing alumni from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s who work so hard to support the team behind the scenes. It’s a really special thing when the people you look up to, like Jonathan McKee and Steve Benjamin for example, are also rooting you on.

“The sailors really thrive with the idea of continuing YCYC legacy both on and off the water, as sailors and as people. For me, that is the best part to see, regardless of winning or losing in the end.”

The Prosser Trophy, this year hosted at SUNY Maritime College, is the Mid-Atlantic Team Race Championship. This year’s victory by the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen with a 10-4 overall record, suggests a change in the guard in MAISA (Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association) as Georgetown has won the event three out of the past 4 years. Surprisingly, #5 Navy finished the regatta tied with ODU at 10-4. A sailoff between the 2 teams decided the eventual champion.

#5 Navy has sailed strong all season behind the efforts of Peter Hogan (‘18), Michael Madigan (‘17), Patrick Snow (‘17), and Gary Prieto (‘18) serving as skippers with crews Mary Robertson (‘17), Sarah Barkley (‘19), Mary Morocco (‘19), Brittany Slook (‘20), Ana Mier (‘19), and Molly Hanson (‘17).

With such upward trajectory, most feel that this Navy team poses the greatest threat to Yale. No one predicted that this team would climb to such a level and therefore it is hard to guess how high their ceiling truly is.

“This weekend’s success came from a season full of hard work and cooperation from all players whether a starter, back up driver, heavy air specialist, or snacktician/shore crew,” said coach, Dillon Paiva.

“We graduated two seniors from last year’s nationals team and everyone that returned was determined to do better,” continued Paiva.  “We have tried to keep calm and have clear heads all season, avoiding protests and umpires whenever possible. A win at the Prosser confirms what [head coach] Ian [Burman] and I have known and felt about this team all season long. We have a long way to go and a lot to accomplish before Memorial Day weekend, but we are excited and motivated to get there.”

The #2 Georgetown Hoyas finished the regatta third over with a 9-5 record. #6 Hobart and William Smith College finished tied with #9 George Washington University at 8-6 and advanced to nationals in the last MAISA spot after a 1-race sailoff victory over The Colonials.

In the South Atlantic, the SAISA Team Race produced two teams to the nationals championship. The #7 College of Charleston Cougars defeated the Eckerd Tritons to win the regatta. Both teams advance to the National Championship.

In the Southeast, the SEISA Team Race Championship at Texas A&M Galveston sent the undefeated Texas A&M Aggies to the Team Race National Championship.

#1 Yale, #5 Navy, #7 Charleston, #12 Tufts, ODU, #11 MIT, #2 Georgetown, #6 HWS, #2 Boston College, Eckerd and Texas A&M has now all qualified for Team Race Nationals with five spots remaining for the Northwest, Pacific Coast, and Midwest conferences.

Notably, #4 Dartmouth, #9 George Washington, #13 Roger Williams, and #8 Bowdoin ended their seasons on the outside looking in.

South Atlantic sends top teams to Coed Semifinals and Team Race Nationals.

SAISA Coed Fleet Race was held at College of Charleston, and with five berths allocated for the Coed Semifinal Regatta, this was SAISA’s fleet race qualifier. #7 Charleston won the regatta after 11 races sailed in each division by a small margin over USF, 67 points to 69 points respectively.

Stefano Perschiera (‘18) and Grace McCarthy (‘18) of Charleston won A-Division with 28 points while Jason D’Agostino (‘17) and Sabine Zinserling (‘20) won B-division for Eckerd. Eckerd finished 3rd overall, Jacksonville 4th and University of Miami 5th to round up the qualifying positions.

“We were definitely underdogs to qualify coming into this regatta,” said Greg Koman, one of the coaches at Miami. “But the team did a great job of having consistent first row starts, seeing the big picture on the race course and avoiding major mistakes. Those were the goals. I knew that if they could do that then we would have a chance. They did, and they turned it into a berth to Nationals.”

The semifinals will begin May 30.

Wisconsin wins Midwest Championship while #3 Yale wins final major women’s interconference regatta.

MCSA Women’s Championship were held at University of Michigan, attracting eight teams for the four qualifying spots to the Women’s Semifinal Nationals. University of Wisconsin won decisively with 23 points in 18 races, 9 in each division. Kate Klement (‘17) won A-division with Korina Hendricks (‘17) while Andrea Sullivan (‘18) and Carolyn Keck (‘19) split time with Maggie Houtz (‘19). The Badger ladies won both divisions. The Northwestern Wildcats finished 2nd, the Michigan Wolverines 3rd and Notre Dame finished in the 4th spot, edging Minnesota by 2 points.

In NEISA (New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association), the Emily Wick Trophy was held at the United States Coast Guard Academy. Breeze was up as the #3 Yale University Bulldogs won the event easily, scoring 182 points in 30 total races.

Freshman, Louisa Nordstrom with Claire Huebner (‘18) and Isabelle Rossi De Leon (‘17) won B-division for the Bulldogs and junior Casey Klingler finished second in A-division with Christine Klingler (‘20) and Caroline Colwell (‘18). #7 Rhode Island finished second overall behind an A-division win by senior Rachel Bryer sailing with Hannah Scanlon (‘18). #4 Charleston finished 3rd overall.

Background: 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. There are seven Conferences that schedule and administer regattas within their established geographic regions, with ICSA hosting two national championships in the fall (singlehanded, match racing) and three national championships in the spring (team, women’s, coed).

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