The Dartmouth sailing team was back in action over the weekend competing in men's, women's and mixed regattas from the far reaches of Saint Mary's College of Maryland to the cold waters of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As the weather in the Northeast gets increasingly worse this time of year, the sailors are finding more and more challenging conditions in which to race. Such was the case at the Victorian Coffee Urn Regatta at Harvard University.
"The women showed their strength in both extremely breezy conditions on Saturday and frustratingly light wind on Sunday," Allison Swindell '04 said.
Despite the unpredictability of the wind, the women's team found a way to place third overall, due in part to Lauren Padilla '05, who stepped up from the B division to race to fourth in A division along with Swindell.
The freshman duo of Emily East '06 and Christina Duncan '06 completed the Dartmouth team at the B division.
More important than the bronze finish, however, the excellent showing at the regatta solidified the women's team's No. 2 national ranking. In the big dance of sailing, the Big Green ladies look to take on the No. 1 Old Dominion University squad at the Atlantic Coast Championships at Connecticut College in two weeks. The Urn Regatta also qualified Tufts University and the University of Boston for the championship race.
This weekend's up-and-down conditions did not treat the sailors as well at the chilly 61st Professor Schell Trophy at MIT, where officials and crew had to chip ice blocks off the water to allow for racing with a high of 38 degrees all day.
Both A and B division teams of Scott Hogan '04, Amory Loring '04, Karl Johnson '06, John Diskant '03 and Christina Lyndon '04 finished, putting together an eighth-place finish out of 18 teams in the final standings over two days.
"After a tough day of racing on Saturday, we had every intention of moving up in the results on Sunday," Christina Lyndon '04 said, "but the weather was against us."
Amory Loring '04 agreed that "it was an exceptionally frustrating weekend. We had a skilled team, but couldn't quite put it together."
Despite the disappointment reflected in the sailors' comments, the regatta still qualified the team for the Atlantic Coast Dinghy Tournament at the United States Naval Academy in late November.
Departing immediately after the snowy bonfire on Friday night, the freshmen sailors traveled to Masschusetts Maritime Academy for the Nickerson Trophy Regatta's New England Championships.
The all-'06 team of Andrew Loe, Debbie Sperling, Erik Johnson, Todd Whitehead and Clare O'Keefe showed poise and expertise beyond their years, winning the event against the "16 best freshman teams in New England," according to coach Brian Doyle.
The Nickerson win also qualified the team for their Atlantic Coast Freshman Championship this coming weekend.
Rounding out the weekend's events, the War Memorial Regatta at Saint Mary's College of Maryland found Dartmouth finishing 10th of 18 amid shifting winds and big competition. Peter Fleming '05 and Liz Hyon '05 raced A division with Scott Linthicum '04 and Sarah Fink '05 in the B division.
Armed with dinghies, lasers and their wits, the Dartmouth sailing team will step up to the challenge over the next two weekends of championship. The team's performance will set the tone for the upcoming and all-important spring season in which three national championships are at stake.