Hogan is All-American sailing hero on Lake Mascoma

by Sarah Hood | 11/13/97 6:00am

When people think of Dartmouth as a site for outdoor athletics, the Connecticut River, Dartmouth Skiway, and numerous running trails and playing fields are likely to come to mind immediately. Dartmouth as a venue for a top-notch sailing team and a two-time All-American skipper, however, is difficult for most to picture.

Luckily, those in the sailing world are well aware of what Dartmouth has to offer, and the College has a reputation that was strong enough to lure talented Casey Hogan '99 from her native California beaches to the sailing team's own Lake Mascoma.

"New England is the place to be for women's sailing," Hogan said. "I love the seasons and the outdoors, and it's so much fun when it is warm, you learn to deal with the cold days."

Hogan is one of the latest additions to a strong Dartmouth Sailing team, and is a key component in the squad's recent success. Currently the team is ranked first in the nation, a position they have held since the preseason, due in no small part to Hogan.

"Casey is awesome because she works really hard and has an excellent head," team co-Captain Leigh Lucas '98 said. "She is very good under pressure and always remains calm in the key moments."

Hogan is as well-respected by her opponents as by her teammates as evidenced by the boatload of honors she has collected in her short time at Dartmouth. Her boat's fourth place finish in the A Division helped the Big Green to a third place overall in the 1995 National Championships, and in 1996 she and Heather Melanson '97 took third place while the team took fourth.

Hogan was named to the All-American teams her freshman and sophomore years by the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Associations' All-America Committee based on her performance during the fall and spring season and at the National Championships. She also represented America in the 1996 U.S./Japan Goodwill Regatta held in Tokyo last fall and won the women's championship.

Before competing for the Big Green, Hogan was a member of a Newport Beach, California team who won a high school national title and also competed and won British Schools Team Racing Championship in England which was a championship meet against England and Ireland. In 1995 she won the U.S.. Junior Women's Single-Handed Championship in her hometown of Newport Beach.

Hogan blushed when asked to talk about her individual honors, mainly because she sees the value of teammates in sailing.

"A lot of sailing is individual, but I love the team aspect in college sailing," Hogan said. "You get really close with the people on the team."

Sailing is a co-ed sport, and 25-plus men and women on the team share coach Brian Doyle. There can be as many as ten regattas in one weekend, and the team splits up to attend as many as possible. As a result, Hogan explained, four or five sailors will take a College-owned VOX car and travel to a race on their own.

"People learn to be kind of independent," Hogan said. "You're on your own, and it is a lot of fun. Even though it is tough being away, you get to be really close with the people you travel with"

Hogan sees traveling to these races as one of the best things about sailing, noting that the athletes have a chance to get to know their opponents as well as their teammates.

"A lot of my closest friends are sailors [from other schools]," she said. "It is a small sailing community, though you do develop a lot of rivalries."

As one of the only women to skipper a boat in the A Division at most regattas, Hogan is well known to her opponents as both a friend and a force on the water, and points to her crew, Shannon Law '00, as one of the primary factors in her success this fall.

"Personality wise, we really get along well, which is important in the boat," Hogan said. "She had done some skippering before college so she can help me out tactically in a race."

Law is just as complimentary of her partner.

"I have only sailed with Casey this fall but I have already learned a lot from her," Law said. "She is very good at the technical aspects of sailing and since I have started sailing with her I have learned a lot about sail trim and many of the strategies of team racing.

"In racing, Casey is always working to catch one more boat because every point counts. We have gotten very good at gaining and passing boats on our last upwind leg."

Though Hogan and Law compete primarily against males in races, Hogan says that being a woman is not usually an issue on the water because having size is not always an advantage in a race.

"The mental aspect is mostly what helps in a race," Hogan said, though she acknowledged that upper-body strength is helpful to have. "There is a lot of quick decision making, and having experience helps a lot in knowing how to deal with everything."

Hogan has been sailing since she was 8 years old, and has plenty of experience to draw on today. Her father sailed collegiately, and her family belongs to a yacht club in California. Her brother, Patrick, is now a member of the freshman sailing team.

"All the kids sailed all summer long," Hogan said of summers at home in California. She also played tennis and basketball while growing up, but says that sailing was the sport most suited to her personality.

"I'm very competitive and this was a sport I did well at," Hogan said. "When it is sunny out and there is a breeze, there's no place I'd rather be."