Sailors continue to post strong regatta performances

by James Lamb | 11/13/03 6:00am

There are various ways to define "hardcore" at Dartmouth. Some might consider it as still being able to sink during a fifth consecutive game of tree. Others might deem themselves hardcore after pulling an all-nighter for that econ midterm the next day.

While these are impressive deeds in their own right, they pale in comparison to the true hardcore nature of the Dartmouth Sailing Team, as they get ready for the biggest regatta of the fall this weekend.

Yesterday, as many of us gaped at the softly falling first snowfall of the year from our cozy indoor surroundings, the sailing team was out on the near-frozen Mascoma Lake, busting their butts in preparation for the all important ICSA Co-ed Atlantic Coast Championship at SUNY Maritime and the ICSA Women's Atlantic Coast Championship at Old Dominion University.

To put things in perspective, senior Amo Loring '04 remarked, "We had a snowball fight between boats during practice yesterday, which was fun." Now that's hardcore.

Dartmouth is favored to win both the Co-ed and Women's ACC's, and looks poised to do so. Just last weekend, in a testament to the diverse success the sailing team has enjoyed this year, Dartmouth sent representatives to the Sloop National Championship at the New York Maritime Academy on the fabulous East River. While only 10 of 150 nationally recognized teams were invited to compete, all participants received mandatory tetanus and hepatitis shots prior to competition.

Dartmouth sailors Scott Hogan '04, Karl Johnson, '06 Emily East '06 and Erik Johnson '06 split time over two days in a regatta that featured the best sailing teams in the country and gargantuan wind gusts of up to 25 knots on Saturday. To better visualize this type of speed, consider the following: 30 knots is the absolute envelope for these types of sails. In other words, at wind speeds higher than 30 knots, the sail physically will not hold up thereby preventing you from sailing, unless, of course, you're sailing with an airplane wing.

These conditions provided quite a test both for the sailors and their equipment. As Karl Johnson '06 described it, "after forty minutes of racing, we were still finishing within fifteen seconds of the other boats. This short time sometimes makes the difference between first and fifth. [It was] very tight racing."

In the end, the sailors finished fourth, the highest place in the Sloop Championships that Dartmouth has ever had in the 31-year history of the event.

At the Mike Horn Trophy, jointly hosted by Harvard and Boston Universities, the co-ed team competed in a nice warm up for the big dance this weekend. Vying to better their already spectacular current No. 3 national ranking, the co-ed team raced 11 times in each of four divisions for an aggregate second place finish, with only Boston College ahead.

While this was a great result, the sailors have their eyes on the prize. Allison Swindell '04 commented, "It was good preparation for all of us that are going to Atlantic Coast Championships this weekend."

As the seniors try to end the season on top, the young 'uns on the team look to continue the winning traditions of this season. At the Freshman Atlantic Coast Championships at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the future of Dartmouth sailing placed second out of 13 best teams in the nation, narrowly out of first place for the regatta.

The ACC's will decide the collegiate champion for the fall season, and determine pre-rankings for the critical spring season during which the team will pursue the National Championship. Put simply, "this is the culminating regatta of the fall season," said Jon Kling '04. Good luck to the sailors this weekend, the most hardcore lot of all.