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.

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.

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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.

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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).

GO MIDD!!!

Searching for the groove: Salt Pond Invite at URI

This past weekend, four Middlebury sailors ventured to South Kingston, RI for the C-level Salt Pond Invite. After a nice stay Friday night at the Jaczko Family household, the team cruised down to Rhode Island for a 1030 report time at the URI sailing facility tucked in the back of the Salt Pond.
We were treated with bright blue skies and a shifty Northeasterly breeze. Despite a slew of schools with incomplete teams, URI and Tufts filled in the gaps to complete the 18 school regatta.

Both A and B teams from Middlebury put up consistent but respectable scores with some solid races mixed in. In A-fleet, Jade Forsberg (2017) and Sarah Scott (2017) started slowly but gained momentum throughout the regatta. For whatever reason, breeze seemed to be on for A-fleet and down for B-fleet. The B-fleet boat was Ben Arquit (2020) and Casey Astiz (2019), who placed relatively consistently besides two tough races. For both groups, good starts were marred at times by huge wind-shifts. On the contrary, good upwind tactics and improved boat handling resulted in a few large gains on the first and last legs of each race. The teams never gave up on any race, despite slow starts, frustratingly large wind shifts, and extended lulls that only seemed to show up for B-fleet races.

Sunday’s races were a bit more of the same; improving upwind tactics and solid starts marred by huge wind shifts from the left. A good learning experience for everyone who spent the weekend racing in the Salt Pond and watching races from a small, deserted island next to the racecourse.

The team travels to MIT this weekend for the George Warren Smith Trophy. The weather in Boston looks breezy and wet, and the team is excited to tackle another competitive regatta in Boston.

Fresh start to the Fall 2016 season: Stuart Walker Open, LCO, and family sailing!

As the Middlebury College academic year starts later than others, the sailing team is often late to begin their season as well. Fortunately, our first weekend of competition features two ‘home’ regattas: The Stuart Walker Open, our team’s annual regatta, and the Callagy Ross Trophy (formally the LCO) at UVM. The team was looking forward to this weekend, as we had invited a large group of family members, MCSC supporters, and former Middlebury sailors to enjoy Saturday’s racing and to do some sailing of their own on Sunday.

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Conditions for racing in Northern Vermont on Saturday featured strong and gusty southerly winds on the forefront of an approaching storm. All sailing in Burlington was called off before noon, with winds gusting to 30kts. Sailors planing to compete at the Callagy Ross drove back to Middlebury to enjoy a beautiful day of sailing for the third annual Stuart Walker Open. The conditions on Lake Dunmore were much more manageable, with a 10-15kt Southerly breeze that featured 20kt Southeasterly gusts in the morning and some funky Southwesterly puffs in the afternoon.

Dr. Walker and his family were in attendance to watch the racing and share some encouraging words with all racers. As always, all sailors appreciate Dr. Walker’s entertaining stories from his previous sailboat racing experiences.

Despite Middlebury’s best efforts, the Tufts Jumbos were once again able to regain the Stuart Walker Trophy. Lexie Lessing/Nick Jaczko along with Nate Wiener/Erich Wu worked hard in the difficult conditions throughout the day.

Thanks to Bates and Mcgill for making the trip to Middlebury, and congrats to Tufts for their win.
Full scores here.

 

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On Sunday, five Panther sailors returned to Burlington’s waterfront to find much calmer sailing conditions with southerly winds 5-10kts and leftover chop from yesterday’s big breeze. Ben Brown and Alden Cowap raced in A fleet, finishing 8th overall and sailing three strong races. Jade Forsberg, Sarah Scott, and Sarah Yang sailed B Fleet, and after a slow start, found some success when spreading out the race course and getting the boat moving through the residual Champlain Chop. Despite starting slow, the team had six solid races in the middle of the day, demonstrating their ability to sail in lumpier waters and compete with other strong NEISA sailors.
The Panthers finished in 11th place overall, but had multiple top 7 finishes and some very well-sailed races. Full scores can be found here.

In addition to a group traveling to compete in Burlington, we also hosted a series of races on Sunday for all family members and MCSC alums. Three races were run by Alex Baskin (2019) that featured recent alumni team races and fleet races with all five Lessing family members. Thank you to everyone who made the trip to Middlebury and sailed in our first Friends, Family, and Alumni Regatta!

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Thanks to everyone who came out and watched our team race this weekend! As always, we appreciate the support and look forward to the rest of the season. The team will be racing at URI next weekend at the Salt Pond Invitational.

Ending on a good note!

The Middlebury Panthers were able to complete the 2016 Spring Racing season with a series of strong races at the Mendum’s Pond Invite. The regatta was hosted by UNH and held at Tufts University’s new sailing pavilion. This was Middlebury’s first opportunity to use Tufts’ brand new Turbo Larks!

Fortunately, the Panthers were able to bring two complete teams (eight total sailors) to the event. Despite a slow start, the wind filled in nicely from the Southeast and remained steady around 5-10kts. As always, Mystic Lake experiences some shifty sailing conditions, and Saturday’s regatta was no exception. The beautiful weather and pleasant sailing conditions allowed the UNH/Tufts race committee to run 6 races for each division.

Team 1 consisted of Nate Wiener (’18) / Emmet Byron (’19) and Vick Xu (’19) / Sarah Yang (‘19.5). Finishes were relatively consistent for team 1 throughout the day, but the team steadily improved throughout the day with each race. Consistency is key!

Team 2 consisted of Ben Brown (’18) / Casey Astiz (‘19.5) and Alex Baskin (’19) / Erich Wu (’19). The afternoon’s tricky sailing conditions were not kind to this group either, but each group had consistent upper-mid fleet results.

The teams should be very proud of their hard work and commanding finishes in the Mendums Pond Invite. As the season winds down, the team will pull the boats and store them for the summer. Thanks to all of the support from friends and family throughout this spring season. We look forward to more sailing in the future!

 

Full scores and regatta recap can be found here.

Savin Hill Central Series @ Boston College

Last weekend, the Middlebury Panthers traveled to Boston, MA to compete in the Savin Hill Central Series at Boston College’s venue.

Jade Forsberg, Rebecca Freeman, Ellen Sartorelli, Lexie Lessing, and Nick Jaczko made the trip to Savin Hill Yacht Club on a cold, breezy Saturday only to have races called off for the day. Winds were blowing a steady 17-20kts from the unprotected North East, with gusts hitting 30kts!

After finally getting the call at 1:30pm that races were cancelled for the day, the team traveled into a busy downtown Boston. The city was preparing for the infamous Boston Marathon on Monday, with many streets closed to car traffic and the remaining streets teeming with pedestrians and tourists.

Sunday offered more favorable sailing conditions, with 5-10kts coming from the East/Southeast. The Panthers had many solid starts and improved with each race. A tough outgoing tide made for frustrating racing conditions as the wind began to taper off around noon. Full scores from the regatta can be found here.

 

This weekend, the team travels to Yale to compete for the Reed Trophy, a women-only qualifying event. In addition, a coed group of sailors will be traveling to Boston University to compete for the George Morris Trophy, an inter-conference regatta featuring schools from MAISA, SAISA, and PCCSC. Best of luck to our sailors!

 

Midd Panthers compete in New England Dinghy Tournament and Tyrell Trophy!

After a week in Vermont following our Spring Break training trip to Eckerd College, eight Middlebury sailors traveled to Connecticut for two different regattas. Both regattas treated the sailors with difficult blustery conditions not uncommon to early Springtime on Long Island Sound.

This year’s New England Dinghy Tournament was hosted by Sacred Heart and Fairfield University in Bridgeport, CT. Twelve teams from across New England traveled to Bridgeport for two long days of difficult competition. Knowing that the top two teams from the regatta would qualify for the New England Dinghy Championship at Dartmouth at the end of the season, each team sent their best sailors to the regatta in hopes of qualifying. The level of competition at this qualifying event truly demonstrates the growing depth of NEISA. Despite six teams from this weekend’s event making a strong push to qualify, all twelve teams sailed excellent regattas in variable and difficult (not to mention frigid!) sailing conditions.

At the Dinghy Tourney, Middlebury was represented by Ben Brown (’18) + Alden Cowap (’17) in the A Division and Megan Colwell (’16) + Nick Jaszco (’19) in B Division. Saturday’s conditions were classic early April in New England, featuring grey skies, North-Northeasterly winds with an imminent threat of late afternoon snow and rain showers from the Northeast. Despite the potential for races continuing until 5pm, all sailors were pleased to be sent in before the snow squalls and were treated to warm pizza and Regatta Ginger Beer. Good races by Middlebury were intermixed with difficult races with multiple 90 degree wind shifts and dying breeze.

With sunny skies, Sunday promised to be a much better day for sailing on Long Island Sound. Middlebury came out strong and finished with a second place overall finish in A division. As the wind increased from the Southwest all day, conditions became trying and difficult.  With multiple capsizes and time running out, the races were called just prior to 3pm.

Middlebury finished in 5th place overall. Thanks to Fairfield/Sacred Heart for hosting and congrats to Mass Maritime Academy for winning the event. Johnson and Wales University took second place.
Full scores and write up here: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s16/ne-dinghy-tournament/

On Sunday at Avery Point, seven teams experienced similar racing conditions. From NEISA’s site:

After some confusion about the location of the regatta was resolved, sailors hit the water at 11:00am ready to have a great day of sailing and burgers. With a consistent west wind, we were able to get off a set in each division before moving the course to adapt the breeze as it clocked SW and picked up a bit. A division sailed a great second set enjoying the conditions, but B division was foiled in their attempts to match this as the wind picked up to 30 knots, and boat began to drop like flies on the downwind; the third B race was abandoned and racing was called off due to these conditions. Sailors left in good spirits, a little soggy but fueled by delicious food. 41 Husky burgers were served.

Thanks to UCONN for hosting. Full scores and write up: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s16/tyrell/ 

 

 

This weekend, the Middlebury Panthers travel to Boston College to compete in the Savin Hill Central. BC sails out of Savin Hill YC. Thanks for everyone’s continued support of MCSC as we continue our Spring 2016 season.
The following weekend (April 23-24), Middlebury will compete in the Reed Trophy at Yale (an all women event) and the Morris Trophy at Boston University. Our final weekend of competition will be split between the Tufts (April 30) and Williams College (May 1).

Final Weekend of Racing for Middlebury Panthers!

Another great weekend for the MCSC! We were fortunate to travel to Boston to compete in two events and Newport, RI to race for Salve Regina’s Sister Esther Trophy.

We were lucky to have two beautiful days of sailing with gusty North to Northwest breeze, sunny skies, and comfortable temperatures.

From Jade Forsberg:

After navigating through the maze of streets in Boston and debating whether the regatta was named the No Ringer or Noringer, we finally arrived at the BU sailing center. We were blessed with an unseasonably warm fall day and a great, though still shifty, breeze (about 10-13kts with stronger gusts). A fleet promptly headed out and while they all seemed eager to sail, some just couldn’t resist taking a dip in the Charles with such great weather! Once races started it became apparent that there was very little room for error, especially amongst the top boats in the fleet. After only 4 races, the race committee decided to end early, leaving Midd with a solid 11th place out of 18. While our sailors were sad not to have more time on the water they were very pleased with their performance including some very good, consistent starts in B fleet. 
 
Sunday was a bit colder, but even more sunny as the team headed down to MIT for the Crew’s regatta – involving a true test of trust between skipper and crew. Dylan Quenneville and Vick Xu took the helm for their first regatta as skippers and asserted themselves on the racecourse. Vick demonstrated a keen willingness to master the infamous tech dinghy, showing great improvement between his races, while Dylan became the master of starts, wining most of them in A fleet. The wind was slightly lighter than Saturday but ten times as shifty, making racing a feat of well-calculated strategy and a fair bit of luck. We ended the day with a 10th overall from our crews-turned-skippers and headed home just in time for dinner, still debating whether we sailed the No Ringer or Noringer on Saturday. 
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Nate, Lexie, Dylan, Vick, and Jade at the MIT Crews regatta

Noringer/No-Ringer results and Crews results.

In Newport, the Panthers raced against 19 other schools in a competitive regatta, also featuring excellent sailing conditions. Newport is known for excellent sailing conditions and a vibrant sailing culture. It is always exciting to be able to sail on the ocean in November surrounding by massive yachts and beautiful oceanside mansions!
In two days of sunny skies, both divisions sailed 11 races, all of which were W4s. Both days featured a strong incoming tide, making some tactical decisions difficult. Along with a few crazy wind shifts, the course was hardly an easy one to decipher and conquer. In A Division, Ben Brown and Alden Cowap had a few excellent starts throughout the regatta, giving the team some solid results. At this level of competition, it can be difficult to hold your position throughout the entirety of the race. In B Division, Alex Baskin and Rebecca Freeman sailed an excellent regatta, finding numerous opportunities to make great gains on windward legs by finding large lanes on lifted tacks. Sunday’s sailing started off great, with Ben and Alden sailing a very commanding race and taking a second place. Though the rest of the results were not all single digit finishes, we were happy with our progress over the weekend and our ability to approach different racecourse situations to avoid fouls and improve on our previous days mistakes. We are getting closer to stringing together stronger, complete races with each regatta. We were very happy to have family members come watch the sailing on Sunday and providing delicious donuts for the sailors!
Overall, the Panthers finished 15th overall, including numerous strong finishes over top teams. Great job to all sailors this weekend! Thanks to John and his crew at Salve for hosting a great event.
See full results and summary here.
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Rebecca, Commodore Meghan, Coach Alex, Alex, Alden and Ben in front of a beautifully blue Newport harbor
The team now moves into boat and dock removal before Lake Dunmore freezes! We appreciate all of the support from fans, family, sailors, and many others who have helped our team progress throughout this enjoyable season.

New England Fall Tournament Weekend and Freshman Regatta

The Middlebury Panthers kicked off Halloween Weekend with an exciting and breezy practice at Dartmouth’s Mascoma Lake on Friday. We were treated to gusty NW winds blowing 10-20 straight up and down the lake. Dartmouth, Middlebury, and UVM, part of NEISA’s “Northern Alliance” raced three W4’s before the darkness set in and all three teams continued their travels further south for a weekend of competition.

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Sailors of the ‘Northern Alliance’ dressed up post practice

After a team dinner, the Panthers hit the road, heading to Mass Maritime for the Fall Tourney and Tufts for the Nickerson Trophy, an all Freshman regatta.

 

From Lexie Lessing:
This Halloweekend, the Midd Sailing first-years headed to Mystic Lake for Tuft’s Nickerson Trophy. Saturday showed some very light and inconsistent conditions, with four races being completed by the end of the day in Larks. Division A (Alex Baskin and Erich Wu) had a top 5 finish in the last race of the first day. Sunday brought heavier winds from 7-12kts and huge puffs for another two sets of races. Less consistent racing on day 2 but good upwind legs by Lexie Lessing and Nick Jaszco in Division B. In the end, both A and B came in 14th in their respective divisions, with Midd finishing 15th overall. 

Great job by all of our sailors at Tufts. See the regatta summary here with full scores here.

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Nick, Erich, Lexie, Alex
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Waiting for the wind on Mystic Lake

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What would Halloween be without costumes?

 

 

At Mass Maritime, the sailors battled a brief postponement on land before being treated to four races in each division on Saturday. As predicted, the sailors at Great Herring Pond saw a light and shifty SSW breeze at 5-7. Middlebury and Mass Maritime fought with each other all day, but it was Middlebury who lead after day one through eight excellent races, including three bullets by the Panthers on day one. Ben Brown and Alden Cowap sailed an impressive and very consistent regatta, scoring 4 firsts, 3 seconds, and 1 third!

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Saturday morning postponement

Sunday featured a stronger and puffier SSW breeze with warmer temperatures. Each team sailed their best sailing of the season throughout Sunday, providing every coach, sailor, and spectator with eight exciting races, featuring numerous extremely close finishes. The final race featured a back-and-forth duel between UNH and Mass Maritime, with MSM beating UNH by just a few inches. Unfortunately, the Panther’s could not take home the top spot at the tourney, but were very pleased with a second overall finish after 16 well-sailed races. Megan Colwell and Sarah Scott sailed a very impressive regatta in shifty conditions. They held their own even in the strongest breezes, winning one race and netting three straight second place finishes. Great job girls!

Big thanks to Diana W from UNH for running the regatta and Andrew Kirk from MSM for hosting.

For more details and final scores, see here.

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Scores
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Happy sailors after two excellent days of sailing

 

The team is off to Salve Regina for the Sister Esther in Newport, RI and the No Ringer/Crews regatta at Harvard and MIT this weekend. Wish us luck!

 

 

October 18 Update

Another busy weekend for the Middlebury Panthers.

This past weekend, Middlebury traveled to McGill University in Montreal to compete in the annual McGill Cup. The event featured very tricky conditions and inconsistent racing conditions. In an attempt to get the regatta started, the regatta began in a shifty 3-5 kts of breeze with a tough current controlling the race. A Division was able to complete their set, but due to a blizzard (!!!) and incoming stormy weather, B Division did not sail, and the rest of Saturday’s races were scrapped.

Sundays weather was colder, with frozen hiking straps and ice in the bottom of the 420s. The sun popped out to warm things up, but the breeze remained shifty and the current remained strong.

Middlebury sailed well despite the tough conditions, coming away with a 5th place overall featuring some great races.  See full recap and scores here.

 

Our second group of sailors competed at the Great Herring Pond Trophy at Mass Maritime. The group sailed a great, consistent regatta, featuring multiple top 5 finishes in a difficult oscillating breeze. Saturday started off light with huge oscillations and a massive lull near the windward mark and offset mark, creating numerous difficult boat crossings and tight finishes. Huge gains and huge losses were common with a tight fleet and wild wind oscillations.

Sunday’s breeze was stronger than the day before, but equally as shifty. The venue did not help the massive oscillations, but the Middlebury sailors sailed patient, mistake free races and maximized their time riding big lifted tacks towards the weather mark. Similar to Sunday, the fleet was close, and one small mistake could generate large losses for some and large gains for others. Despite losing the tie-breaker for 7th, Middlebury ended the regatta with a bullet in a very dramatic and close final race.  Scores here.

 

Great job to all sailors who competed this weekend. The weather is certainly getting colder and it appears that some of our practices could be in the snow…but hopefully not quite yet!

 

A reminder to email Rebecca (rfreeman@middlebury.edu)  if you are interested in ordering any Middlebury gear before Wednesday!

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