Middlebury College Sailing, by the numbers

Now that the season is officially over, with most of our boats completely packed away in the ‘sheep barn’, we can spend a few minutes to reflect on the last three months. We could write all day how hard the sailors worked, that they sailed a lot, how they far they traveled, etc. Instead, we compressed the season into a snippet of numbers and stats to demonstrate how this season went:

22 Total number of Middlebury College students who competed in a regatta in Fall 2017
8 Total number of Middlebury Students who tried sailing for the first time

120 Hours of total travel
5100 Miles of total travel
9 times eaten at Chipotle while traveling
15 regattas competed by team
235 total races sailed
6 total races won
400 Hours competed in regattas by our sailors
20 Minutes, average time of a race
19th Overall place in NEISA (out of 40)

6 regattas raced by Ben Brown, most of all Middlebury Sailors
65 Races sailed by Ben Brown
1st Overall finish by Ben Brown and Alden Cowap in A Division at NE Fall Tourney
2300 Miles traveled by George and Anne Spencer to NE Fall Tourney, fans from Salt Lake City (Thanks for visiting us!!!)
2 Countries competed in (USA and Canada)
6 States raced in (ME, NH, MA, VT, RI, CT)
36 schools from New England competed against, 1 team from Florida, 2 from the Mid Atlantic
6 types of boats raced this semester (420, Z420, FJ, Firefly, Tech Dinghy, Turbo Larks)
28 knots Strongest wind velocity raced in (either: Central 6 @ Boston College or Salve Regina, or maybe Peak Foliage @ Tufts)
>1 Knot Lightest wind velocity ‘raced’ in (Many races were abandoned at NE Fall Tourney)
4 days of practice or regattas sailed in frozen precipitation
5 total months of sailing for the sailing team each year (Sept-early November and then March-early May)
1 strong sailing team at Middlebury and 1 very successful season

Not so shabby for a student-run, club team with minimal funding!

These numbers are a small snippet of our season. Planning for each sailing season begins in November, starting with the creation of the schedule for the next calendar year. The schedule remains flexible, as we continue to update our schedule all season long by adding and subtracting regattas in order to compete at our best level and garner the best results that we can.

Planning transportation, lodging, regatta rosters, practices, team events, team gear, workouts, and spring break is an ongoing and exciting process. The season never really ends, only our time spent sailing is limited (by winter, which is long here in Vermont). It is safe to say that EVERYONE‘s hard work in practice, workouts, and regattas have really paid off and helped to elevate our team to where it is today. Our sailors deserve a big thanks. While we look forward to a little break, it won’t be too long before we start resuming practices and competing with other strong sailing teams in New England.

Thanks everyone for a great season. We appreciate all of your continued support, whether you follow our season, have donated to our on-going fundraising campaign, or have housed our sailors for a regatta. We cannot do it without you all, so thanks so much-see you in the spring.

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MCSC ends season in Newport, Boston

As the team discussed back in early September, the fall sailing season for NEISA schools is a marathon; ten weeks of sailing, multiple practices each week, and countless hours of travel time (actually about 120). Even though we enjoy the excitement throughout the fall season and hate to see the boats getting packed away for the season, we are able to finally relax after the last boat is pulled from the lake.

This past weekend, Vick Xu, Robbie Kelly, Nate Wiener, and Emmet Byron traveled to Boston to compete in two of NEISA’s best regattas, the Professor NoRinger hosted by BU and the Crews regatta hosted by Northeastern. Though we continue to debate if it is Professor “Noringer” or No-Ringer (as in, do not send your ringer), we were once again treated to some of Boston’s trickiest sailing in BU’s basin on the Charles River.

From Vick Xu (2019)
Saturday, November 5, Prof. NoRinger: Morning started out still. Wind did not build up until well around 11:00 a.m.. After that, it featured westerlies with a constant 5 knots and 10 knots of gust throughout the rest of the regatta. Nathaniel Wiener (Skipper) and Emmet Byron (Crew) demonstrated good seamanship and resilience representing Middlebury in Division A, capturing a 3 and a 6 out of the six races. Vick Xu (Skipper) and Robbie Kelly (Crew) raced together for the first time in Division B. It was Robbie’s first regatta and the two demonstrated substantial improvements over the races, ending the regatta with a 6, a 7, and 8 scoring (http://scores.collegesailing.org/f16/noringer/B/). Before the regatta ended, Midd sailors were greeted by former MCSC alum Alex Saunders ’15, who was on a run alongside the river.

Sunday, November 6, Crew’s Regatta: Due to various circumstances, Middlebury sent only one team. Robbie took the helm for the first time aboard the challenging (some say obnoxious) MIT technical dinghy, and was crewed by Vick. The regatta started out with a fight between northerlies and easterlies, whose victories after the second race brought not only gusts of 10+ knots but also rain. Robbie and Vick were able to ride the puffs, ending the regatta with a good ranking of 8/13 amid schools with great sailing programs.

A trip to Boston is not really a trip without a visit to the Shack. Shake Shack burgers and shakes have been great physical and moral supports for the sailors for long. Scores here

In Newport, Jade Forsberg, Alex Baskin, Erich Wu, Casey Astiz, and Ben Brown competed in the 5th annual Sister Esther Open. Despite typical November conditions, sailing in Brenton Cove out of Fort Adams is always an enjoyable weekend of sailing. For some teams, this regatta is a great way to wrap up the season with some strong results in a fun sailing venue. For other teams, this regatta is an ideal way to stay fresh and get some practice in for the teams planning to compete at the ACC/ACT the following weekend.

Saturday’s conditions were a mix of light air with a growing Northwesterly, all while fighting harbor chop and current. From shore, it was apparent that the current would play an increasingly important role in the day’s races. Ben Brown and Casey Astiz started Saturday in A-division with Jade and Erich in B-division. Given the conditions, it was nearly impossible to recover from any mistakes in the beginning of the race. In the afternoon, Alex Baskin filled in for Ben Brown to skipper the last set of the day. The day ended after six races were sailed.

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Sunday’s conditions were quite different than Saturday’s. With an increasing northerly going against the tidal current, the race course consisted of four foot chop and scary whitecaps. Races were postponed until the wind and waves subsided, or until the local Opti sailors decided it was safe to sail. By the time racing resume, two races were sailed in both A and B division.

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BB’18 ready to fly away

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Yes it was that breezy

Ben Brown skippered while Alex Baskin crewed, sailing their best race of the regatta despite the difficult conditions. When the waves cleared and the wind subsided, the Panthers finished the regatta in 16th overall.

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Full scores can be found here. Congrats to Harvard for a dominant win and thank you to Salve/John Ingalls and Stephen for a well run regatta.

Thanks again to Mrs Baskin for the snacks and the photos! The team will be finishing up all boat repairs and storage this week. Next week we will pull the docks for the season and officially wrap up the season. Thanks again to EVERYONE who has supported our team this year. We are ready for the snow to start falling but will start planning for the spring season in a few weeks.

Tourney Weekend! NE Fall Tourney and Freshman Champs

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Another busy and exciting weekend for the 19th ranked Panthers. We were lucky to have the opportunity to travel to two iconic college sailing venues for a big weekend of competition. The weekend kicked off with the annual Halloween practice at Dartmouth, complete with a steady Northerly breeze and Halloween costumes galore. Having the opportunity to practice on a tricky venue with some of New England’s top sailors on the UVM and Dartmouth team provided our team with a great learning experience before the weekend.

Four of our first year sailors traveled to the Nickerson, formally the Freshman ACC’s, hosted by Tufts. The regatta was raced in Larks on Upper Mystic Lake in relatively light air and frustrating conditions.

From Ben Arquit (2020)
This past weekend, Philip Klinck, Sam Scatchard, Eiko Fulton, and Ben Arquit, traveled to Medford, MA for the Nickerson Trophy hosted by Tufts. We were excited to be able to compete against some of the best freshmen in the country in the fastest boat in college sailing, the Turbo Lark. Ben and Philip sailed in A fleet, with Sam and Eiko in B fleet. The team arrived to Mystic Lake on Saturday morning and were greeted by a steady Southerly breeze of about 8-12 knots. Both fleets got two races off in great sailing conditions, with minimal wind shifts. The beginning of the second set for A fleet was the beginning of the end for the wind. It began to die and shifts of as much as 70 degrees caused headaches on the upwind. Staying relaxed and powered up was definitely key to succeeding in these conditions. A fleet got both their set 2 races in and B fleet was sent out for their second set. Race 1 ended in a drifter and race 2 was called off before anyone even reached the windward mark due to lack of wind. That ended day one and we went back to the Klinck’s for a good night’s sleep. The second day brought even shiftier wind out of the West. The first few races saw the starting line within feet of the sailing pavilion, which resulted in great views for all the spectators. The key to day to was not just reading the shifts, but also making sure you stayed in the pressure. There were many examples of boats that were almost half a leg ahead, but lost that whole lead in under a minute if they missed the puff. Both Middlebury boats continued to battle the difficult conditions, but were happy to have had better results on day 2. The leaderboard changed almost every race, as the shifty conditions reeked havoc on consistency. Overall we were satisfied with our performance and look to improve even more as the season winds down. For the freshman, this fall was a great learning experience that we will lean on to build into the Spring season. Thank you to the Klinck’s for letting us stay at their beautiful house and for Mr. and Mrs. Klinck, as well as Mr. Scatchard for coming to cheer us on and bring us food both days! Full scores and regatta recap can be found here

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Ben and Sam were pleased to have sailed the Turbo Larks with jibs this weekend, but would have preferred the breeze from last week’s Peak Foliage!

The New England Fall Tourney was hosted by Conn College on the upper Thames River, just in site of the Schell/Urn Championship hosted by Coast Guard. With the team’s focus solely on this regatta, the Panthers were poised to attack the competition and come away with consistent and strong results. The difficult conditions of the Thames River provided the Panthers with four early races to explore the race course before finding their rhythm. Fortunately, by the end of the day, the two teams combined to win 5 of the final 6 races! However, two races were resailed on Sunday as two W2 courses were sailed, a course not designated in the sailing instructions. Middlebury originally won both of these races, but would have another chance on Sunday to win them again.

The A Division sailors of Ben Brown and Alden Cowap sailed a strong regatta, finishing in first in their division despite a slow start. Winning the last four races, Ben and Alden won the tiebreaker to win A-Division. However, despite the team’s consistent improvement and better understanding of the race course and the conditions, the Panthers were unfortunately no match for Johnson and Wales. The JWU B-division boat stole the show, winning 8/9 races and one 2nd place. In B Division, Alex Baskin and Erich Wu sailed a great regatta, proving that they were 3rd in their division. It will be really exciting to see how these two improve over the next two years of sailing together. They have come a long way! Full scores and results here. Thanks Conn College for hosting.

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Thank you so much to Mr. and Mrs. Baskin (and Stuart) for hosting us this weekend. Despite the tricky conditions and a solid second finish, the team came away pleased and satisfied.

The team looks to close out the season in style this weekend. One group of sailors will be competing at Salve Regina for the Sister Esther Open. The sailing venue is right off of Fort Adams in Newport, RI. Another group of sailors will be competing in Boston at the Professor No Ringer (@ BU) and the Crews (@MIT) regattas.

Thank you to all of the friends, parents, dogs, and supporters of our team. We will be putting our boats away for the season starting next week. Stay tuned for more info about our ‘It’s A-Boat Time‘ fundraiser and our annual newsletter, the 2016 Windward Panther.

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