Simply put, the team would not be where it is today without all of the hard work and contributions made from every single member of this sailing team. Over the past two weeks, the sailing team has experienced new highs and a few lows. For the first time in years (we really are not sure how long), the Middlebury Panthers cracked the top 18 teams of NEISA, topping out at 16th overall after week 6. Week 7’s regatta at Mass Maritime Academy’s Great Herring Pond Open yielded slightly disappointing results, leaving the team in a super close 19th place, just hundreds of decimal points behind Salve Regina in 18th. Salve seemed to save their best sailing for the last two weekends, as they were able to secure a spot in the top 18 of NEISA.
Despite the weather warnings for heavy winds and potentially heavy rains, Nate Weiner/Emmet Bryon and Lexie Lessing/Julia Silva trekked from Middlebury to Boston College for the Central Series #6. With the potential for strong Southwesterly winds, BC allowed teams to make late drops. Never one to quit, the group of Middlebury sailors sent it to Boston to tackle the breezy sailing conditions. After a slow start to the day, the strong winds drove into Boston Harbor, followed by a rain so torrential that Lexie and Julia claimed ‘they could not see or hear the finish line’. Races were called a bit early on Saturday and no final decision was made on racing until the next day. In the end, there was no sailing on Sunday in Boston Harbor, and the team headed back north to Middlebury to find snowy mountain peaks and that fall is already on its way out.
Leading into this past Sunday’s regatta at Tufts, the Middlebury Panthers needed a top score in order to sneak into this upcoming weekend’s Schell Trophy hosted by Coast Guard Academy. The breezy conditions provided spectators with ample entertainment, coaches with five hours of stress, and sailors with exhausting yet exciting sailing. As the breeze was not expected to subside throughout the day, Diana W, UNH’s coach, made the decision with Ken Legler to limit sailors to just a mainsail. Tufts sailors helped rig all of the new Turbo Larks, stepping the masts and wrapping the jibs around themselves to render them useless for the day. Whether this was safer / better for the boats or not, this was the decision that was made by two very experienced coaches. Sailing without a jib in big puffy breeze caused multiple teams to find themselves stuck in irons for minutes at a time.
The Panthers sent two complete teams to the Peak Foliage, hosted by UNH at Tufts. Our Women’s team was comprised of Jade Forsberg and Sarah Yang along with Raine Ellison and Alden Cowap. Our coed team was fielded by Ben Arquit and Sarah Scott plus Sam Scatchard and Sam Zimmer. Ben and Sarah started quite strong, with a 2nd and a 1st in the first set. They finished with solid scores despite an incomplete final set due to time constraints. Although no Reese’s were awarded during the regatta (at least to our knowledge), the team always enjoys a well managed day of racing by Diana and her assistants from UNH. Thanks to Tufts for their help rigging and derigging the Larks, and congrats to Mcgill for their win and securing the 16th spot in NEISA. Full scores and report here.
Despite narrowly missing the cut for the top 18 teams of NEISA and a berth in the Schell, the Panthers are excited to compete this weekend on the Thames river at the Fall Dinghy Tourney. It will be exciting to compete against a half dozen other teams who narrowly missed the cut, just down river from the Schell tourney. The team still has eyes on a top 18 finish overall, as we have two more regattas to compete in. Thanks to everyone who continues to support our team as we make positive strides and continue to move up in the ranks in collegiate sailing.