Sailing team scores two top-five finishes in weekend regattas

by Jasper Bingham | 10/22/13 10:00pm

Dartmouth sailors weathered tricky winds on their home course to come out with a solid finish, scoring 214 points total. Matt Wefer '14, Avery Plough '14 and Victor Hollenberg '14 earned 89 points in the A-division, coming out fourth in their heat. Christopher Price '14, Charlotte Snow '15 and Hope Wilson '16 earned 125 points in B-division, good for sixth.

Boston College dominated the event, crushing second-place Roger Williams University by 64 points. Dartmouth was just five points behind Roger Williams.

Sailors pinned their success on their ability to navigate shifty, light breezes.

Madeleine Cooney '17, who is on the team but worked at the Hurst regatta and did not sail, said she was impressed with the team's ability to perform well consistently given the conditions.

"The wind gets pretty unpredictable, where the big puffs are going to come down the course," she said. "The conditions allowed for someone who had a really bad start to come back and get first, or vice versa you could be in first at the start and end up in last."

"[Light breezes] are generally the most challenging conditions," Price said. "You have to keep your eyes upthe places can change very quickly so you have to be really focused on what's happening."

Cooney said the team was very happy with its third-place result.

"There's five schools that are pretty much always battling for the top spots," she said. "When we place up there with them we're always happy."

The Big Green relished the support of its home fans at the Hurst Bowl. Sailing team alumni and parents of current sailors flocked to the lake to watch the team compete.

"There was a really great support team on Saturday," Price said. "We had a parents' weekend, so a lot of sailors' parents were up here, and we had a big cookout while racing was going on."

The Big Green faced nearly opposite conditions on the Sound, fighting strong ocean winds and waves. The team scored 177 points between both divisions, just four points behind fourth-place Stanford University. Kelsey Wheeler '14 and Lizzie Guynn '16 sailed A-division, accumulating 91 points and finishing fifth in their heat. Sarah Williams '16 and Sarah Peck '14 represented Dartmouth in B-division, earning 86 points to come in third.

Yale's venue and conditions affected the regatta.

"In open water, there's a lot of big waves, [and] bigger winds and longer shifts," Wheeler said. "It's just a very different style of sailing than we often see in the New England region."

These longer shifts meant teams could gain huge leads, and that they did. Host team Yale dominated, finishing 57 points ahead of all competitors.

The team is looking forward to a packed schedule of five regattas next weekend: the Stu Nelson Trophy, the Sherman Hoyt Trophy, the Oberg Trophy, the Boston College Invitational and the Wellahan Trophy.

In the longer run, the team has its eyes set on the Atlantic Coast Championship, which ends the fall season. Qualifiers for the event will take place on Nov. 2 and 3, with the championship race the following weekend. Dartmouth has placed well in the past when it has qualified, and won the event in 2006.