Written by Chris Klevan
Conference Championships: #1 Yale, #5 Georgetown, #6 Charleston and Texas A&M Galveston victorious and Nationals bound
#1 Yale University won the Fowle Trophy, New England’s Team Race Championship, hosted by Connecticut College. The Bulldogs have been slow to start regattas this spring season. At the Fowle, however, they flipped the script on that narrative and, in doing so, proved that they are the best in NEISA in a variety of sailing conditions. Posting a 10-1 record in the round of 12 and a 5-2 record in the round of 8, Yale was the outright winner in a extremely deep field.
Yale sailed Nic Baird ‘19 with Graceann Nicolosi ‘20, Shawn Harvey ‘21 with KB Knapp ‘18 and Malcolm Lamphere ‘18 with Sonia Lingos-Utley ‘21.
While being crowned the champs of NEISA is noteworthy, it is undoubtedly not the end goal for Yale. This regatta, while a conference championship, is also a qualifying regatta offering 4 tickets to the big dance and a chance at the ICSA Team Race National Championship. The fight for 4th is where this event really got interesting.
At 5:30 in the evening, an hour past the deadline for racing, 3 teams were still sailing a three way sail off for the fourth and final qualifying spot. #3 Boston College, #8 Harvard and #18 Connecticut College sailed a three way, tie breaking round to determine whose season would continue and whose would end. The winner of two races would advance to the national championship. If the three teams all finish 1-1, the sailoff would continue into the evening.
Boston College started against Connecticut College and defeated them with a dicey 1-3 finish where Boston College had to execute a perfect tack on the finish line to win the race. The winning team continued to face Harvard with an opportunity to win both sail off races and advance. Boston college started behind Harvard and were facing a possible play 2 moving up the first beat. Harvard failed to balance completely and BC was able to catch one boat and convert to a winning play of their own. They kept the winning play, the 1-4-5, for most of the downwind before flipping it to a play 2, 2-3-4. They maintained the play two over the last two legs of racing and, despite Harvard's best efforts, finished 2-0 in the sail off round and will advance to nationals.
#4 Roger Williams finished second with a 13-5 record. An underrated #13 Dartmouth finished 3rd with a 11-7 record.
#5 Georgetown won the Capt. Prosser Trophy, the Mid Atlantic’s Team Race Championship. Similar to the Fowle, NEISA’s championship and qualifier, the top four teams at the Prosser advance to the national championship.
Throughout the event, the Hoyas distanced themselves from the field sailing two round robins with a 6-1 record and one round sailed undefeated. This Georgetown team is not young anymore and they have the speed and boat handling to beat anyone in any condition.
Sailing Roger Dorr ‘18 with Rebecca Fung ‘19 and Marley Mais ‘21, Sean Segerblom ‘20 with Meaghan MacRae ‘18 and Will Logue ‘20 with Rose Edwards ’18 and Caroline Teare ‘21, the Hoyas will be tough to beat in Norfolk come late May.
Again, like the Fowle, the drama of the Prosser occured around the 4th and final qualifying position. However, unlike the Fowle, the conditions were full on with whiteout snow, wind and waves. “It was intense,” said Cornell Head Coach, Brian Clancy. “Racing was never in doubt. It was a cold 10-15 knots out of the North and steady. There was a feeling in the air throughout the event and you could cut that tension with a knife on Sunday.”
“It was by far the coldest regatta in memory,” said Hobart and William Smith head coach Scott Ikle. “We put windshield de-icer on the sheets and controls to keep the lines functional. It was miserable with wind chill below 20 degrees and big snow squalls would rolling through causing the race to disappear as we watched from land.”
Notably, the home team, Cornell, beat out #15 St. Mary’s, #10 Navy and #17 Old Dominion University to grab their first trip to Team Race Nationals in their team’s history. Cornell sailing has been around since the 1930’s and Team Race nationals has been a part of the ICSA championship schedule since the 70’s.
“We lost our first 3 races of the day on Sunday,” said Mr. Clancy. “And we knew St. Mary’s was coming, we had to win our next race against them. St, Mary’s beat us badly off the line and we had one boat able to hold on and mix it up and get us back into the race at mark one. It was on after that.”
Cornell had to beat #11 George Washington in their last race of the regatta to win the tiebreaker against St. Mary’s and though the two teams finished with the same record, Cornell went 3-0 against St. Mary’s throughout the event and therefore no sailoff was necessary.
“It is a big deal,” continued Clancy. “It is the first time in our programs history that we’re moving on to the Team Race National Championship and it’s a special group. They put in the time, we pushed them and they responded in a big way. It means a ton to the program, the current sailors, the alums and the larger Big Red Community.”
George Washington finished second at 15-6 including a 2-1 record against #2 Hobart and William Smith Colleges, who finished 3rd. George Washington also made history, like Cornell, qualifying for their first team race national championship.
GW sailed three skippers throughout the event. Senior Kai Friesecke, and juniors Derek Poon-Tip and Andrew Sheerin sailed with six crews in rotation. Seniors Miranda Bakos, Shira Bolub, Belle Strachan, and Matt Homa, junior Connor West and freshman Tanner Chapko all contributed to the cause.
#6 College of Charleston won the SAISA Team Race Championship with a 7-0 record. The defending national champions had been sliding in the weeks prior to their conference championship, but they proved last weekend that they are still the premier team in the South Atlantic.
The Cougars sailed Christophe Killian ‘18 with Elizabeth Pemberton ‘18, Augie Dale ‘19 with Katherine Lounsbury ‘20 and Stefano Peschiera ‘18 and Grace McCarthy ‘18. If this team continues to improve they could challenge for another team race championship as Charleston knows how to peak at the right moment.
A theme at these conference championships, the excitement was found around the last qualifying spot. Unlike MAISA and NEISA, SAISA only gets 2 qualifying spots. That spot was decided by a one-race sailoff tiebreaker between University of South Florida and Eckerd College. The team race season of these two teams came down to one race where USF was able to sail away and claim their spot at Nationals with a decisive 1-2-3 finish.
In SAISA the team race championship/ qualifier is decided on the same weekend as the fleet race championship, SAISA Coed Champs.
College of Charleston walked away with their second championship of the weekend with a 26 point victory over Eckerd. While SAISA only receives 2 spots to nationals in team racing, the top 5 teams at the fleet race championship get berths to the ICSA Semi-final regatta.
Charleston’s victory can be attributed to College Sailor of Year font-runner, Stefano Peschiera ‘18 with Grace McCarthy ‘18 and Elizabeth Pemberton ‘18 in an A-Division victory and Augie Dale ‘19 with Carter Cameron ‘19 and Katherine Lounsbury ‘20 winning B-Division.
Eckerd finished second with 72 points, USF, 3rd with 91 points, Jacksonville 4th with 137 points and Florida State 5th at 146, one point ahead of University of Miami for the last qualifying spot.
Texas A&M University at Galveston also booked their ticket to the Team Race National Championship with an undefeated, 6-0 performance at the SEISA Team Race Championship. The format was a double round robin with four teams present at the regatta.
John Hanna ‘19, John Jacobs ‘19, Jonathan Sager ‘20, Ava Cares ‘20, Alex Schwinn ‘19 and Lyndsey Sager ‘21 got the job done for the Aggies, capturing the one and only berth for the Team Race National Championship.
Like the SAISA qualification process, both the SEISA qualifiers for Fleet Race and Team race nationals are determined on the same weekend.
Texas A&M won the SEISA Dinghy Championship as well, winning all but two of the 14 races in the event.
John Hanna ‘19 skippered with Jonathan Sager ‘20 assuming the crew role in the A-Division winning effort for 6 of the 7 races. However, the tandem switched spots, the crew, Sager, now skippering and the former skipper, Hanna, in the front. Showing the versatility of the A-Division boat, Hanna and Sager still won the race.
Alex Schwinn ‘19 with Lyndsey Sager ‘21 and Ava Cares ‘20 won B-Division for the Aggies with 9 points in 7 races.
Tulane was second with 26 points, finishing second in all but two races. Texas was third with 51 points beating out Texas A&M (not Galveston) for the final spot to the ICSA Semi-Final Regatta.