High winds frustrate sailing team at Yale Intersectional

by Jon Kling | 10/20/04 5:00am

At the Yale Women's Intersectional this weekend, Dartmouth proved to be tougher than both the weather and the race committee.

The regatta, a qualifier for Women's Atlantic Coast Championships, allowed the top two finishers from the weekend to advance. The Dartmouth team -- comprised of Lauren Padilla '05, Liz Hyon '05, Emily East '06 and Kate Hacker '07 -- showed off their abilities in what proved to be a tough weekend in heavy air.

The racing started Saturday at 10 a.m., only to have the race committee run a partial race and then pull the fleet in due to winds of 18-22 knots. The wind calmed a bit (down to 15 knots) around noon, prompting another try by A-division to get some races off. Four races sailed in each division Saturday afternoon as the winds grew back to 18 knots by the end of the day.

At the end of Saturday, the Dartmouth women were feeling good sitting in fourth place, but were disappointed in the low number of races. "It was obvious that we were the most buff team on the water," Hacker commented, "We were grinding everyone down in the big breeze and they had fear in their eyes."

Sunday morning greeted the competitors with a 15-18 knot breeze. After a short delay in the morning, A-division was sent out for two races, in which Padilla and Hyon finished first and fifth, bumping them towards that second qualifying spot. Once again, the race committees fretted over the wind and wouldn't send the B-division sailors out into the breeze despite their pleas. The racing was eventually abandoned around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Since A and B divisions must sail an equal number of races for any given regatta, Saturday morning's A-division races had to be deleted from the overall scores, erasing Dartmouth's hard work that morning. Thus the women remained in fourth overall, out of a qualifying spot for this weekend, though the girls look forward to qualifying for the ACC's next weekend.

"This weekend was really frustrating because even though it was a qualifying event we were only given the chance to sail four races," said Hyon. "We spent the vast majority of time sitting around waiting, and the race committee was really timid about sending us out."

"Our two races on Sunday, which didn't count, were really good and had B-division been able to race we might have qualified. The scores were very close and it was definitely possible. All of the competitors were psyched to sail but we didn't get the chance. Now we're channeling that frustration into winning the Stu Nelson next weekend, another qualifier for Women's ACC's."

This weekend Dartmouth hosted 12 teams from all over New England at the Jack Wood Trophy. The regatta report from head coach Brian Stanford read, "shifty would be an understatement."

The winds at Mascoma over the weekend were uncommonly unstable and came out of any direction from southwest to northeast ranging from zero to 12 mph. A team composed of Mike Wilde '07, Christina Duncan '06, Jimmy Attridge '07 and Meaghan Ferrick '07 competed in over 40 races for the weekend, finishing up in second place, behind Brown by only two points.

The winds at Yale filtered up along the coast to pose an equally blustery weekend for the Dartmouth team racers in the Boston area. At the BC Bowl on Saturday, Dartmouth fielded Todd Whitehead '06, Ben Sampson '08, Garrett Holmes '05, Laura Sheinkopf '07, Betsy Bryant '08 and Debbie Sperling '06 against six other teams.

Despite the complexity of the regatta and winds howling at 15-20 knots, the team completed two five race round robins to beat their perennial team racing archrival, Tufts.

"The competition was mainly Tufts but we were able to outshine them, 'cause we're that good," Sperling said.

The same team also finished second behind Boston College on Sunday in another double five race round robin in the Lane Team Race at Tufts.

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