Seahawk Sailing Second at Team Race Nationals
Courtesy of Jen Vandemoer Mitchell | Toile à Voile for ICSA | email@example.com
Austin, Texas – The St. Mary's College of Maryland sailing team wrapped up its 2011-12 season with a second-place finish at the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association/APS Team Race National Championship on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas on June 3-5. The event is the second of three collegiate sailing nationals co-hosted by the University of Texas Sailing Team and the Austin Yacht Club this spring.
After three days of racing excitement, the College of Charleston walked away with the championship title and the Walter C. Wood Trophy.
The final four began in light winds around three knots from the southeast. The air was warm in the low 80s. Six races total were completed in the final four round robin.
St. Mary's and Boston College were the first race to hit the starting line followed by the match up of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the College of Charleston. Going into the last day of racing, Charleston was leading the regatta by just one win. The other three teams in the final four each had eight wins making for a very close competitive regatta.
It was slow racing—boat handling and boat speed were key to winning races in the light air. St. Mary's won their first match up with a 2, 3, 4 combination over BC. Hobart/William Smith won their first race with a 1, 2, 5 combination over Charleston.
The wind died after the first two races, postponing the race for two hours until more wind filled in.
St. Mary's and Hobart got off the line and battled their way around the course in the light wind. With a few lead changes, Hobart took the race with a 1, 2 on the water, however, a black flag was flown at the leeward mark to indicate a professional foul.
Hobart took room at the leeward mark, when they were not entitled to it. The umpires ruled that Hobart won the race because their foul advanced them into a winning position. Therefore, the umpires penalized them by adding six points to their score causing them to lose the race, awarding the win to St. Mary's.
The wind picked up slightly (10 knots) for the Charleston and BC race. Charleston led at the top mark with a 1, 2, 6 and BC raced to catch the lead boats. Charleston made a successful trap at the leeward mark and held onto the 1, 2 up to the last beat to take the win with a 1, 2, 5.
The second to last race of the day was a race for third place between BC and Hobart. BC got off the starting line late, but rounded the first windward mark with a winning 2, 3, 5 combination. However, Hobart was able to condense and convert the race in their favor at the leeward mark, rounding with a 1, 2 combination. Hobart took the win with a 1, 3, 5 to move into third place.
Charleston and St. Mary's were the last match up of the day and determined the winner of the national title. It was a slow fight between the two teams due to the light wind. St. Mary's had a good start and an advantage over Charleston up the first windward leg, but Charleston took the lead by the leeward mark.
Charleston was able to hold onto their winning combination moving up the last beat as St. Mary's could not break up their winning pair in time. Charleston took the win with a 1, 2, 3.
"We were able to sail quickly in the light wind," says Ward Cromwell, Charleston's head coach. Cromwell says the team had good, clean boat handling, which allowed them to get back into races when they were a little behind.
When it came down to the last race with St. Mary's, he says they talked about the same things they have been the whole regatta, "Get off the line, get two pairs and sail with confidence." He says the sailors pride themselves on communicating the obvious to each other to minimize mistakes.
This is the College of Charleston's first-ever ICSA/APS Team Race National Championship title, earning the program's first Walter C. Wood Trophy. St. Mary's last won the Wood Trophy in 2010.
St. Mary's team members included skippers Victor Diaz de Leon (Lecheria, Venezuela), John Wallace (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Joshua Greenslade (Flatts, Smith, Bermuda) with crews Katie Gluskin (Duxbury, Mass.), Kelley Merryman (Annapolis, Md.), Kayla McComb (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Ben Lezin (Santa Cruz, Calif.).