On the Rise

This past weekend, the Middlebury Panthers made the long (and gorgeous) drive to Maine for the Barnett Trophy at Bowdoin and the Protest Trophy hosted by Bates. Two great events in a variety of conditions yielded mixed results for the the Panthers.

The Barnett was sailed out of Bowdoin’s beautiful new Leighton Sailing Center on Harpswell Sound. Saturday’s sailing conditions were a building seabreeze with diminishing sunshine throughout the day. Ten races were sailed with on-water rotations and one lunch break in between race 4 and 5. Though the Middlebury sailors had little to no trouble sailing in the 10kt seabreeze, the current played a bit of a factor in the morning in their tactical decision making. Whether fortunate or unfortunate, only 9 teams showed up to the Barnett, meaning that A and B fleet sailed combined divisions. With tricky current and multiple fouls at the weather and offset mark each race, scores were up and down for every team on day one. As the day wore on, the Panthers results became more consistent, with a few solid top 8 finishes mixed in. At the end of the day, the Panther’s sat in a comfortable position ahead of UCONN, poised to make a move to pass Mass Maritime.

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(Ben Brown and Casey Astiz in boat 8)

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As luck would have it, Saturday’s kind seabreeze gave way to a stiff and chilly NW breeze for Sunday. Fortunately, only 8 races would be sailed on Sunday, and with races just off the Leighton Sailing Center, rotations would be done off the dock. Shortly after the start of the races, the skies open, and the breeze kicked in, and the weather progressively got worse and worse. With each rotation, teams were slower and slower to leave the dock. Unlike Saturday’s mistake filled sailing, Sunday’s racing featured virtually no fouls and plenty of exciting racing finishes.

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In A-fleet, Ben Brown (2018) and Casey Astiz (2019) started the day with three strong races due to great starts and solid management of the fleet. Jade Forsberg (2017) and Sarah Yang (2019) improved within a strong B-fleet and enjoyed one race of leading the fleet around the first two marks. The day could not have ended any earlier, as all sailors were wet, cold, and exhausted from two days of racing. The Panther’s 8th place finish will certainly provide the team great points to help move up the rankings this week in NEISA. Congrats to Harvard and a big thank you to Head Coach Frank Pizzo and company for running an excellent regatta. Full scores can be found here.

In Lewiston, Maine, the Panthers raced against another formidable group of sailors at the Protest Trophy. Bates sailing venue is located at Taylor Pond. Unfortunately, the regatta did not feature the breeze that the sailors had in Harpswell Sound-just the rain.

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From Lexie Lessing (2019): “Everything went smoothly besides the wind dying after the third race and the constant cold rain”.
Lexie Lessing and Erich Wu started strong in A-fleet, netting a few strong races. As the wind tapered off and the rain got heavier and colder, the results flatlined into more consistent mid-fleet races.
New racers Vick Xu and Eiko Fulton raced in B-fleet, struggling to find consistently but had some good races with solid results. Being Eiko’s first and Vick’s second regatta, their hard work and drive to improve was apparent throughout Sunday’s regatta.

The team heads to two more regattas this coming weekend. Four sailors will take on a group of schools up north in Montreal, Quebec at the McGill Cup. Another group of sailors will head to the infamous Great Herring Pond Open at Mass Maritime’s inland sailing venue.

Thanks to all of the parents, friends, and family who continue to support our team. We cannot do it with our your support, so we appreciate any donations that you are able to make to our small but growing club sailing team. We are excited with our progress and have our eyes looking forward to this weekend’s important regattas.

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