Hurricane Irma has devastated the tropical communities of Florida and the island offshore, especially the Virgin Islands, home to many past, present and future college sailors. The presence of such sailors does not simply exist as a large portion of our tight-knit college sailing community, but represents the strength of the organization. With Hurricane Maria looming, our island friends need our thoughts and support.
While the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) regular season has kicked off, the Stu Nelson Interconference regatta is the first major women’s Interconference of the Fall Season. Sailed on the Thames River, the banks of Connecticut College, the venue can be extremely challenging anytime the breeze clicks away from straight up and down. Being the first big regatta of the women’s season, many of the great women in college were elsewhere. However, results from this event helps set the scene for what we can expect on the women’s sailing front this season in college sailing.
All of New England struggled to find breeze over the weekend. The Stu Nelson was mostly the exception. Saturday, the sea breeze came in nicely in the late morning. The consistent conditions rewarded the Coast Guard Academy Bears as after 6 races, the Bears established a 20 plus point lead over University of Rhode Island. Winning three of the six early races, the Bears looked to be picking up where they left off last Spring. However, in the afternoon the breeze clocked West with the setting sun and the conditions changed. The Bears were slow to adjust. 6 more races were sailed to finish Saturday with 6 sailed in each division. The impressive sailing of Christine Klingler (‘20) and Catherine Mollerus (‘21) in B-Division allowed the Yale University Bulldogs to grind down the Bears and overtake them as the day ended. Klinger and Mollerus, younger siblings of great college sailors, past and present, strung together nothing but 1sts and 2nds in the last 6 races to finish the regatta in Yale victory. Only one race was sailed in each division Sunday, the Bulldogs won both of them.
Emma White (‘19) and Peninah Benjamin (‘20) of Dartmouth won A-Division, as Dartmouth, like Yale, BC and Coast Guard, look to represent the strength of NEISA early in the season.
Georgetown University won the Nevins Trophy hosted by Kings Point. The Nevins is a 3 division regatta, featuring a C-Division of Laser Full Rigs. Georgetown won with solid scores in each of the 3 divisions, all top-4 finishes. Georgetown surprised many by winning day 1 of the 2017 ICSA National Championship last spring, despite starting a Sophomore in A-Division and a freshman in B. Those youngsters showed their age on the final day of the championship and Georgetown finished 6th overall but that experience was not wasted. Georgetown is no longer the surprising young team. Georgetown will likely be a top-3 ranked team when the first edition of the Coaches Poll is released on Sailing World’s college racing site later in the week. Moreover, the win last weekend came without the input of those young skippers who were able to win day one of the college national championship. Georgetown showed they will be a contender in the 2018 edition of the National Championship as the green sailors of yesterday grown in the system known for producing College Sailors of the Year.
As stated above, the Nevins is an unusual regatta due to the presence of the Laser Full Rig division, C. If the Henry A. Anderson Trophy served at the Interconference season opener, last weekend, it was primarily the opener for the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA). The Nevins could be seen as MAISA’s opener. There is no denying that Georgetown, despite their win, does not sit alone atop the Mid Atlantic Conference. Hobart and William Smith Colleges is the other MAISA powerhouse and they showed why at Kings Point. Returning all starters from their 5th place finishing team last year, the HWS sailors picked up right where they left off, winning both A and B-Divisions at the Nevins.
Greiner Hobbs (‘18) and Lindsey Kloc (‘19) won A-Division by an impressive 26 points, 83 points in 15 races. Hector Guzman (‘20) and Maya Weber (‘20) won B with 75 points after 15 races. Head Coach, Scott Ikle, was excited by the start to the season by recognized that a lot can happen between mid-September and late- May, when the Championship is held, this year at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. “We started with bad races and sort of found the groove,” said Ikle. After race 3B, Sophomores Guzman and Weber failed to record a score outside the top-7. “We always sail well at KP and any open water venue,” said Ikle. “A lot of people think of Seneca Lake as a little pond, but it's not, it’s an open water venue with waves when it blows from the South.” HWS does tend to perform well at KP as they now have 3 top-3 finishes there in the last 6 months (Charles Miller (‘19) and Lindsey Kloc (‘19) finished 3rd in B-Division there at the Admirals Cup). Like KP, ODU is an open-water venue that should cater to the MAISA powers, Georgetown and Hobart and William Smith.
The MCSA Sloop Championship was held at Detroit Yacht Club to determine MCSA’s representative at the CISA Sloop National Championship held at College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. Grand Valley State University won the event, finishing first in 5 of the 8 races sailed. Elliot Lee (‘18), Joseph Kurta (‘20) and Jared Smith (‘19) sailed for Grand Valley State throughout the event. Congratulations for qualifying for nationals!
Photo taken from the NEISA facebook page, taken by Ken Legler