Championship Weekend #1: Women’s and Freshman Champs, Leadership, and more!

Another exciting weekend for the Middlebury Panthers sailing team!

This year’s NEISA Women’s Championship, the Reed Trophy, was hosted by Brown University at Edgewood Yacht Club. Seventeen of NEISA’s teams sent their top female sailors to compete for the Reed Trophy. Knowing that the competition would be stiff, featuring some of NEISA and college sailing’s top sailors, the Panthers prepared for a tough regatta.

Unfortunately, Saturday’s weather was not kind to anyone. A Northeasterly breeze, combined with chilly sub 50 degree temps and on-and-off downpours made for an unforgiving day. The conditions made for a long day, with ten races sailed in both divisions. Jade Forsberg and Sarah Yang competed in A-division, with Lexie Lessing and Sara Gilmore sailing B-division. Despite some quality starts, and strong first beats, the girls had trouble finding the groove and finishing the races as strong as they started. At the end of the day, through shivering teeth and pruned fingers, the girls were still smiling and simply excited to be involved in one of the toughest competitions in college sailing. The day concluded with a well earned meal of warm Chinese food in Providence.

Gray Skies and Rain @ Edgewood YC

Day two brought much better sailing conditions, with a dying northerly forecasted to (eventually) fill from the south. As predicted, the wind died after one race in each division. After an hour and a half on-land wind postponement, the fleets were set out at 1:30 to attempt to finish the regatta in the incoming seabreeze. Three races were completed in the last bit of allotted sailing time under a warm sun and building breeze. The regatta concluded with multiple close finishes and a few NEISA teams squeaking their way into the top ten, earning a bid to the National Championships in Charleston next month.

Race 1 in the dying northerly
Race 3 in the building seabreeze
Still Smiling
Lexie, Jade, Sara, Sarah

After the racing, the All-NEISA awards were handed out to first and second team skippers and crews, rookies of the year, and top overall female sailors in the league. Congrats to the ten teams who qualified for Nationals and the group of female sailors awarded for their success this season. Full recap of results can be found here and the awards press release can be found here. Congrats to all of the winners and the Coast Guard Bears for a very strong regatta!

Excitingly, one of our team members, Jade Forsberg, was awarded the NEISA Student Leadership award for dedication to support and promote smaller club teams within NEISA. Jade was nominated by multiple sailors and coaches for her efforts, and the work she has done for the league (and all of college sailing) in the form of a club team handbook will have large impacts around the league. Read the full press release here. Congrats on a well-deserved award, Jade!!!

Go Jade! Jade with NEISA president Justin Assad

Not to be excluded, Sam Scatchard and Franced Vandermeer attended the annual Freshman Championship, the Priddy Trophy, at Sacred Heart on Saturday. The regatta was a full day of sailing in tricky, northerly sailing conditions. The day began with a very exciting rules chat from Rules Guru and Sailing Legend Dave Perry.

The Rules Guru, Dave Perry

From Vick Xu:

This past weekend, Nick Jaczko, Vick Xu, Sam Scatchard, and Frances VanderMeer attended two different regattas in Connecticut and Massachusetts. On Saturday, Sam and Frances raced at the Single Crew Freshman Championship regatta at Sacred Heart University. The team first attended a sailing rule clinic with Dave Perry, legendary sailor and skipper of the 2016, 2017 Oracle USA boat of the America’s Cup. The races officially started at around 11:30 and Middlebury sailors opened the regatta strong, finishing first and second in the first two races. Despite the rain and very light, inconsistent wind, Sam and Frances were able to outcompete their peers with skillful maneuvers and made Middlebury the second runner-up of the Championship. More importantly, it was the first time Sam and Frances sailed together and was the first regatta Frances attended since she joined the team.

Sam and Frances with their 3rd place awards. Dave White (SHU) lurking in the background.

On Sunday the team came to Great Herring Pond in Plymouth MA, home to the Mass Maritime Buccaneers. The team was confronted by a shifty wind whose strength varied between 3 and 12 knots. Sam and Frances sailed in the A division, and Vick and Nick the B division. Competing against 14 other teams in relatively unfamiliar boats and environment, the Panthers showed improvements over the race. Here, the team would like to thank the Jaczko’s and the Scatchard’s for supporting the team at the regatta and bringing delicious food.

Nick, Vick, Sam, Frances

The weekend concluded with two groups of Middlebury sailors competing in two different championship regattas. This weekend, a group of Middlebury sailors will be traveling to Boston College’s Savin Hill YC venue to compete in the New England Dinghy Champs, a regatta that will provide even more of college sailing’s strongest sailors. We are also excited to be hosting the Little3 regatta, normally sailed at Williams’ venue in Western MA. A number of Midd alums will be on hand to support the regatta on Sunday, April 30th. The team looks to close out the season strong with a final weekend of competition.

Thank you everyone for your continued support of the team. The team is feeling the love, and we are excited about the future of the team. GO Midd!

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