Priddy and OToole Trophies

This past weekend finally saw some seasonally appropriate sailing conditions across New England. Panthers sailed in the Priddy Trophy at Sacred Heart on Saturday, and the OToole Trophy at Mass Maritime on Sunday. The Priddy was sailed as the New England Freshmen Championship. Middlebury sent two teams racing in a single division, represented by Allie White, Mollie Ockene, Anna Spiro and Hanna Mass, all from the class of 2021. They placed 5th and 9th.

On Sunday, Nick Jaczko, Valeria Vahkitova, Vick Xu and Gaby Beaulieu sailed at Mass Maritime under shifty wind conditions. They finished in 11th place through 5 races per division, facing strong competition.


Next weekend will be very busy and see Middlebury competing at the NE Dinghy Championship at Brown, Little 3 at Wesleyan, and an invite at UVM.


NEISA Dinghy Tournament

This past weekend saw the Panthers competing at the Fall Dinghy Tournament at Providence College. Sailing for A fleet were Alex Baskin ’19 and Erich Wu ’19, with Warren Galloway ’21 and Gaby Beaulieu ’20 racing for B fleet. Saturday saw winds building throughout the day for two and a half rotations, and bullets won by both Middlebury boats. Sunday was much windier and saw some tight competition throughout the fleet. There were several close finishes, and rankings switching back and forth with each race. By the end of the day the Panthers secured a very close second place, finishing just one point ahead of Bates College after a protest against the B fleet boat was dismissed. The protest claimed that Middlebury’s B fleet boat committed three fouls against two other boats in one incident, but only did a penalty for two of those fouls. The protest committee determined only two fouls occurred and the appropriate penalty was performed. Racing was ended early for the day due to multiple and consistent capsizes throughout the fleet brought on by strong winds associated with the tropical storm on Sunday night. The second place finish at PC put the Panthers 20th overall for the tournament, out of 34. Full results can be found here:


Week 7 in Boston

This past weekend saw the Panthers competing at the Oberg Trophy at MIT. There were three divisions racing, sailed by Alex Baskin ’19 and Erich Wu ’19 in A fleet, Ben Arquit ’20 and Rebecca Freeman ’18 in B Fleet, and Rayne Parker ’21 and Jeanelle Tsai ’21 for C fleet.

Both days saw variable winds and strong competition against all the Boston area schools. Racing started Saturday after a short delay. There was patchy wind throughout the day and there were a few general recalls in all fleets. A Fleet didn’t get off the water until almost 7 PM and finished racing in near darkness. Sunday brought a longer postponement in the morning which eventually gave way to more favorable winds throughout the remainder of the afternoon.

Both days saw support from Alumni, current members not racing, and Coach Alex Levin. There was consistent improvement throughout the weekend, which allowed the team to place above Maine Maritime academy by Sunday. C fleet was able to get some strong starts and force a few competitors over the line early, and A fleet was able to make several comebacks, passing boats on each second beat.

Unfortunately the team missed qualifying for the Schell regatta by one place, and instead will be competing in the Fall tournament at Providence College this weekend, and Salve Regina the following weekend. We are hoping to finish the season strong.

End of Season Wrap up: Spring 2017 Windward Panther

Well that’s a wrap on the season. Here’s our bi-annual report, the Windward Panther.

Windward Panther Spring 2017


The season started strong with a 12 sailor force traveling from Middlebury to Santa Cruz for Spring Break. We carried the momentum to the NE Dinghy Tourney, grabbing second place and earning a bid for the NE Dinghy Champs-our primary goal.

We dealt with the lousy spring sailing conditions that northern New England handed us. More ice, snow, sleet, and freezing temps than the bright sun and blue skies we would have preferred.

We sent a women’s team to the Reed, the women’s championships-our secondary goal.

Our freshman team took a third place at the Priddy, the Freshman Champs.

On our last weekend,  we sailed with the best sailors in the country at the NE Dinghy Champs, learning valuable lessons and bolstering our knowledge base and gaining experience needed to compete at this level in the future.

Finally, the team wouldn’t be where it is without the dedication of our team members and student leaders. The sailing team is a year round commitment, and the team is currently thriving at an all time high. Thanks once again to all of our supporters!


Championship Weekend #2: Coed Dinghy Champs and Little 3 at Lake Dunmore

Though it feels like we just started our spring season, this last weekend was our final weekend of competitive sailing. Our spring season essentially starts early December, when we select and sign up for various regattas for the following calendar year. Sailing team activities take a brief hiatus over winter break, but J-term calls for on-campus fundraising. The start of the February semester yields a great opportunity for the team to attract and recruit new sailors. This year we were fortunate to add a few new sailors to the team that we hope remain active throughout their tenures at Middlebury.


Similar to last weekend, the Middlebury Panther’s traveled to two different regattas to “divide and conquer”. On our home turf, the team, represented by the always-reliable Nick Jaczko, newcomer Ben Dohan,  lover of West Marine Vick Xu, and Captain Sara Gilmore, took on the first official spring regatta that Middlebury has hosted in years (perhaps ever?). The Little 3 has been a Williams College regatta for years, but due to inactivity and tough logistics, the team has struggled to host their regatta for a few seasons. Our team decided to host the regatta at Lake Dunmore, with Fairfield, Williams, Wesleyan, and Amherst in attendance. In classic Dunmore fashion, the regatta featured wild wind shifts, rain and (maybe) sleet, and a dead to dying breeze that resulted in the races being called off after lunch. The team sailed well in the tough conditions, garnering a few solid results and ended in a solid second place behind Fairfield’s top team. A HUGE thanks goes out to alums Sean Willeford, Annie Hopper, Megan Colwell and team members Sarah Scott, Emmet Byron, and Alden Cowap for helping with the regatta. Nice job sailors! Full scores:

Nick, Alden, Sarah Scott, Ben, Sara, Emmet, and Vick

The remainder of the team who competed this weekend traveled to Boston College’s Savin Hill Yacht Club to compete in the New England Dinghy Championship. Unlike the Dinghy Tourney, this regatta would feature all of the top 18 teams of NEISA, all vying for a bid for the National Championships. Due to the strength, depth, and skill level of NEISA, the conference is fortunate to receive 9 bids to Nationals. Multiple NEISA coaches remarked that this year’s championship demonstrated the true depth of our league.

Knowing that we would be competing against some of the top sailors in the country, the team did their best to mentally and physically prepare for two long days of sailing. Representing Middlebury were Alex Baskin and Erich Wu along with Jade Forsberg and Casey Astiz in A-division, with Ben Arquit and Rebecca Freeman in B-division.

Saturday’s conditions were ideal spring conditions. With the wind forecasted to build and move towards the west throughout the day, the temperatures climbed, resulting in perfect sailing conditions in the harbor. Photos from Saturday’s sailing can be found here:

If the weather and race conditions on Saturday were an 8.5/10, the sailing conditions on Sunday were a 3/10. With a drop in temperature of 30 degrees, chilly East-north-east winds, and an ominous sky with the potential for rain in the forecast, sailors and especially coaches were not enjoying the 180* shift in weather. After a delayed start due to a full moon low tide, the racing began in a slowly dying Easterly.

Just before the rain…

Despite consistent results that were less than desired by the Middlebury sailors, it was obvious that there was improvement. Starts improved throughout the day, and tactical race decisions yielded small but impressive gains. Though physically exhausted, the Panthers made strong tactical decisions each race. Even in races where the result was poor, the actual distance from the leaders of the race was minimal. The improvement and clear understanding of the race conditions was obvious. It isn’t always fun finding yourself in the back of the fleet during these races, but studying the course, understanding the conditions, managing the fleet well, sailing mistake free races, and finishing each race strong is the best way for the team to learn to compete at this level. Not-surprisingly, all of our sailors sailed their best race as their last race, and the results showed it.

After sailing, the team stuck around Savin Hill for the all-NEISA awards. Jade was once again recognized for her excellent leadership efforts this year. It was exciting for the team to see the team and individual awards handed out. To be part of another championship was inspiring, and we look forward to continuing to compete at this level and higher in the future.

Just as the weather kicks into the ‘nice’ spectrum in Vermont, our season is over. We will be packing and repairing boats this week and prepping everything for next fall. With a few more weeks of school remaining, the team will continue to get together each week and make plans for the first regatta weekends in the fall. Our fundraising efforts will continue over the summer, so please consider donating to the team in order for us to have another successful year of sailing at Middlebury College. Thank you everyone who has been supportive of the team, and we look forward to seeing you all in the fall!


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!

Spring Season Weekend 3! Panthers sailing Big Breeze in Boston

Despite some of our previous regattas on the Charles River featuring minimal breeze and lousy weather, the most recent installment of Middlebury’s spring sailing season was significantly more enjoyable. With sunny skies and big breezes, the Panthers sent six sailors for a three-division regatta to the MIT Boathouse. The beautiful weather, assisted by a fresh Red Sox season, Bruins and Celtics playoff games, and a looming Marathon Monday, had the whole city of Boston buzzing. Fortunately for us, none of those major events coincided with the team’s sailing on the Charles.

The Oberg Trophy, hosted by Northeastern out of MIT’s infamous Wood Sailing Pavillion, featured three divisions of sailors from 11 schools. With all of the typical local schools attending the competition, the regatta would be far from easy. With decades of combined experience running races and regattas on the Charles River, the MIT coaching staff can manage large regattas incredibly efficiently. With Inner and Outer Trapezoids, the RC has doctored a system to simultaneously run two fleets on the same course.

Saturday’s conditions started sunny with light-ish breeze, but with gusts forecasted to increase to 25kts by 5pm, we knew the day would be a challenge. In A Fleet, Jade Forsberg sailed with Casey Astiz. B Fleet was sailed by Alex Baskin and Alden Cowap. Lexie Lessing and Emmet Byron rounded out the Panthers squad in the C division. Due to the consistently strong Southwest breeze, the race committee, headed by Northeastern Head coach Johnathan Farrar, was able to net eight races for each division on Saturday. The first race of C-fleet featured a general recall, thus allowing the RC to leave the I-flag flying for the remainder of the regatta. Being able to complete eight of the eleven races on Saturday meant a shorter race day for Sunday, giving the Panthers the opportunity to take a leisurely ride back to Middlebury.

Sunday’s race conditions were as breezy as the strongest gusts on Saturday, with gusts boasting above 30kts. With the wind still blasting from the southwest and temperatures approaching 80 degrees (and not that humid!), Easter Sunday was an incredible day for sailing on the Charles!

Despite a few strong races with mediocre finishes and a few great races with solid finishes, the team could not put together the complete regatta they had hoped for. Thanks to Jonathan and the Northeastern Husky staff for running a smooth regatta. Full scores and recap here.

The team travels to Providence for the Reed Trophy, the NEISA woman’s championship at Brown/Edgewood Yacht Club. Another group will be traveling to Sacred Heart University to compete in the Priddy, the Freshman Only championship. Wish the team luck! Thanks again for everyone’s continued support of the Middlebury Sailing Team. The team is entirely student run and fueled by the passion that the team members have for sailing. If you have any questions about the team or wish to assist with our fundraising efforts, feel free to reach out to us!

Go Midd!

Spring Sailing Underway: Spring Break, NE Dinghy Tourney, Fundraiser update

The Middlebury Panthers season is currently in full swing after a long week in Santa Cruz, CA for the team’s annual spring break training trip. Despite the waters of Lake Dunmore still being frozen into the end of March, Middlebury’s late spring break provides the team with a solid week of consistent practice prior to the New England Dinghy Tourney, a qualifier for the NE Dinghy Champs.

The team (minus Sara Gilmore, Vick Xu, and Ben Brown) near Big Sur.

For spring break, twelve team members traveled to California to take part in a week-long team building and sailing trip out of Santa Cruz in Monterey Bay. The team stayed within walking distance of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club and were lucky to be able to use the boats from UCSC for the week. Throughout the five days on the water, the team was treated to a strong ‘uncharacteristic’ seabreeze, consistent chop from the wind, and regular 4-6 foot rolling swells from deep in the Pacific Ocean. Navigating the harbor channel was often difficult due to inconsistent depths and swells breaking on the breakwater, but the difficult sailing conditions proved to be excellent conditions for training and preparation for the season. In between endless snacking and sailing, the team found time to explore Santa Cruz and join the Santa Cruz YC cruising fleet for their weekly races. Despite some confusion about how to start a race with a rabbit start while sailing downwind to an undesignated mark, the team enjoyed an evening racing with locals on larger (50-70 foot boats) in Monterey Bay. We are still unsure how a winner is determined…

Sailing in front of iconic Santa Cruz surf breaks
Wednesday Night Santa Cruz “races”
Panthers mid drill
Lifted on the port layline

At the tail end of the week, every sailor left California sunburnt, bruised, and excited to tackle the upcoming season in New England. The first weekend would be the team’s biggest challenge of the season-the New England Dinghy Tourney hosted by Salve Regina.

Snacktivities at Yellow Taqueria

The NEDT provides all teams in NEISA ranked 17-40 an opportunity to compete for a spot in the NE Dinghy Championships, hosted by Boston College later this month. The Panthers were represented by Alex Baskin, Erich Wu, and Rebecca Freeman in A Division, with Ben Arquit and Alden Cowap in B Division. When the team arrived on Saturday morning, the sailing area off of Fort Adams featured an out-going tide, a puffy/shifty westerly wind, and white caps-similar conditions to what the team practiced in Santa Cruz. The sailors battled for a top spot in every race, bouncing in and out of places 1-4. At the end of the day, the Panthers were sitting in third place poised to make a leap and take the lead. The day ended surprisingly early on Saturday despite a lighter than ideal forecast for Sunday.

Sunday’s forecast was accurate, with the first race of the day (5b) abandoned. After a 30+ minute on-water postponement, the wind filled from the Southwest. Ben Arquit and Alden continued to dominate B-division, ending the regatta with 15 points, including five first place finishes. Alex, Erich, and Rebecca sailed a consistent regatta in A-division, ending in fifth place in a tough fleet. At the end of the regatta after multiple close finishes and lead changes, the Panthers finished tied for second, winning the tie breaker and earning a bid in the New England Dinghy Championship!

Sailing out of Fort Adams

The regatta was a perfect example of how every point of race counts! The team remained focused throughout the entire regatta despite starting a race at 2:55pm on Sunday. See here for the regatta summary and full scores from the weekend. Thanks Salve coaches John and Stephen for helping with the regatta.

Thanks to the Baskin family for supporting the team in Newport on Sunday and a HUGE thank you to the Brown family for all of their coordination and support during our spring break trip in Santa Cruz. We cannot have this progress and success without the continued support from our friends, family, and alumni. As the year winds down, we look forward to advancing our fundraising campaign.

At this time, the team is asking for a donation of a Laser to add to our fleet of FJ’s. We believe that having a singlehanded boat will give new sailors an opportunity to practice the basic principles of sailing a small dinghy on their own. We often have an odd number of sailors at practice, and being able to ensure that there is a boat for any extra sailors would be an immense benefit. Having a laser would also allow our team to compete in single-handed sailing events, which features some of college sailing’s strongest sailors. To be clear, we are not looking for a brand new laser: We hope to have a laser to add to our fleet in order to continue to strengthen our sailing program at Middlebury! If you have any leads on a used laser, please contact us at or

Happy Spring, GO Midd!

The 2016 Windward Panther

Having had a few weeks to fully reflect on our season, it is safe to say that the 2016 fall sailing season was a very successful one for the Panthers. We experienced new highs and new lows, sailed in more difficult regattas, and pushed ourselves to improve our ranking in NEISA. The team was unified around a group of goals to start the fall season. Though we did not reach our primary team goal, the Schell Tourney, we achieved our goals of working as a team to improve the level of sailing on our team each day. Our team benefited from the addition of multiple new freshman and sophomore sailors, who’s regular attendance at practice and regatta contributions allowed our team to move towards the top 18 teams of NEISA.

Thanks to Casey Astiz, Erich Wu, and the rest of our team’s board members, we have launched an excellent fundraising campaign. Though we experienced one of the strongest sailing seasons at Middlebury in the last few years, we cannot continue to compete without your financial support. Your donations to the sailing team supports every aspect of our team: Vans for team travel, daily practice (an average practice costs the team $75), regatta competition, our spring break training trip, and general upkeep of boats and team gear. We are excited to reach our fundraising goals to support a new fleet of boats and help facilitate a change in sailing venue. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about our ongoing fundraising campaign.

Please follow the link below to read our Fall 2016 Windward Panther newsletter.
Great work by all contributing team members on this fall’s report!

Thanks everyone! We appreciate all of your support and are already looking forward to our spring season.

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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