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
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.
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.