Slow and Steady wins the race?

Some may argue that ‘slow and steady’ does not in fact help you win a sailing race. However, the Fall season for NEISA sailors is more of a marathon than a sprint, a race that merits methodical sailing throughout the course of the season.

Certainly, the sailing conditions this past weekend at MIT’s Wood Pavilion on the Charles River required methodical planning, as shifty and progressively light Northeast winds filtered through the Charles River basin.


Most sailors have a love/hate relationship with the George Warren Smith Trophy at MIT: whereas the sailing on the Charles can be so exciting, it can also be terribly frustrating and unforgiving. Relative to Middlebury, sailing in Boston is considered ‘close’, and regattas in Boston always yield great turn outs from teams both stronger and weaker than Middlebury. Not to mention the regatta is sailed in Fireflys and MIT’s infamous ‘Tech(nical) Dinghies‘. There is something so pure and classic about sailing in downtown Boston on the Charles. Needless to say, the sailing on the Charles is always…unpredictable.

Saturday’s weather was forecasted to blow 15-25 from the Northeast-a promising forecast for the Charles. Thirty-eight or so sailors from 19 schools arrived at the Charles to lighter than forecasted breeze and a drizzle that never let up throughout the day. The Middlebury Panthers were represented by Ben Brown and Alden Cowap in A-fleet, and Ben Arquit and Emmet Byron in B-fleet. A-fleet started in fireflies with B-fleet in the techs. Both groups started off strong, allowing confidence to build slowly throughout the day. However, just as quickly as one’s confidence can blossom after a strong race on the Charles, one terrible race can quickly humble even the strongest sailors and remind them that the Charles does what the Charles wants. Needless to say, the Panthers ended Day 1 of the Smith Trophy in a comfortable 9th place with the possibility to gain a place or two.

The weather on Sunday was much less exciting with grey skies, light breeze, and just plain damp. The team set goals to close the gap on Boston College, only 25 points ahead. A few good races for the Panthers and a few poor races by the 2nd ranked BC Eagles could allow Middlebury to move into 8th place for the regatta. After a strong first set for Midd, the wind slowly shut off, creating ever so frustrating and unforgiving sailing conditions. Connecting the puffs was the name of the game, and locating the breeze before others would result in positive results. Despite putting our time on Lake Dunmore sailing in the lightest of breezes this fall, the Panthers could not keep up the Sunday morning success and faltered in the light, patchy air.


The regatta ended when MIT sailing Master Franny Charles could no longer maintain any breeze above 3kts. The regatta was called around 1pm with Middlebury finishing in a strong 9th out of 19 boats.
Thanks to Franny Charles and the MIT sailing staff once again for an efficient regatta. Full scores.

The entire team continues to work hard every day at practice, supporting and pushing each other. The Panthers thank everyone who continues to house, support, and watch our team as we continue to gain traction during the marathon that is the fall 2016 season. Excitingly, the team has continued to climb the NEISA rankings and is looking forward to this coming weekend. This weekend, the team will have eight sailors competing in Maine-one group at the Barnett (Bowdoin College) and another group at the Protest (Bates College).


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