Sailors look forward to Atlantic Coast Championships

by Rebecca J. Aledort | 11/9/00 6:00am

Which Dartmouth athletic team is consistently ranked number one or two in the country? Which team has produced 34 All-Americans since 1988 and sent numerous members to the Olympic trials? Which team had women competing for it even before Title IX?

Give up? It's the Dartmouth sailing team.

This nationally ranked, highly competitive group has proven to be one of Dartmouth's most successful varsity teams in recent years.

What gives this team their consistency?

Captain Leslie Sandberg '01 attributes it to "the best coaching in the country."

When Coach Brian Courtland Doyle took over the position in 1993, the program had 25 athletes and competed in about 55 regattas a year. This year, there are 55 athletes, and they will compete in over 100 regattas.

Dartmouth sailors compete every weekend, with different teams being sent to about 10 separate regattas.

Captains Patrick Hogan '01, Sandberg and a core group of seniors, including All-Americans Katie Lyndon and Erin Maxwell, lead the team. So far, this year has been extremely successful.

"This is one of the best years I've had since I've been coaching here," Doyle said. "We currently have one of the best records in the country."

Dartmouth sailors won the Sherman Hoyt Trophy Intersectional Regatta by over 70 points, defeating 18 teams from around the nation, including Harvard, which was ranked number one at the time.

The women's team won the Navy Fall Women's Intersectional Regatta, winning not only the event overall, but every division as well. In fact, the women set a record by winning with the largest margin over second place in the event's 25-year history.

Besides its consistency, the structure of the sailing team is another one of its unique aspects. There are actually two sailing teams: coed and women's. The apparent redundancy of having both is a legacy of Title IX regulations.

Sailing had always had both men and women competing -- the more possible combinations of sailors there are, the better the chance of a well-balanced boat -- but with the passage of the regulations, a women's team was created. Today the tide is shifting again, and for the first time this year there were separate races for men's, women's and coed teams.

"We are a New Age sports," Doyle said of the sport's forward thinking.

Recent rankings sponsored by Sailing World have placed the coed team first and the women's team second, in front of powerhouses such as Harvard and Tufts.

Hogan said, "look for Dartmouth to stay at the top of the rankings for years to come. Our formula for success is not only winning our events each weekend, but emphasizing team development as being fundamental to our success."

This year, the women's team is looking forward to repeating their performance at the ICYRA Boatscapes National Dinghy Championships in the spring. In 1999, they won the national title, defeating the number one team from USC.

Already, team members Jennifer Morgan '02, Patrick Hogan '01, Kevin Horrigan '02 and Kelsey Morgan '02 have qualified for post-season events by winning the New England Sloop Championships and the Yale Women's Intersectional Regattas.

Although the fall season is winding down, there are still many regattas left. On Nov. 11-12, the team will attempt to repeat last year's victory at the Coed Atlantic Coast Championship at Kings Point. Dartmouth sailors will also be racing in the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship at MIT and the Freshmen Atlantic Coast Championship at St. Mary's College in Maryland.

The following weekend, Hogan, Kelsey Morgan and Horrigan will compete in Bay St. Louis,Miss. for the Sloop National Championship.

"Who would think that the finest sailing team in the country would be located as far from the ocean as Hanover?" Hogan quipped.

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