The Dartmouth sailing team experienced a wintry mix of weather and results this weekend down on the Charles River, dominating the 64th Erwin Schell Trophy at MIT and getting snowed off the line at Harvard in the Women's Victorian Urn Trophy.
Once again the tremendously trusty team of Erik Storck '07 and Killarney Loufek '07 subjugated the competition this weekend. They sailed through rain, sleet and the unpredictable waters on the Charles to a run-away win, beating the closest competitors, MIT by 16 points.
In B-division Ben Sampson '08, Todd Whitehead '06, Christina Duncan '06 and Laura Sheinkopf '07 finished in eighth place, putting Dartmouth in fourth overall and earning them a spot in the upcoming Atlantic Coast Championships.
In order to eliminate any chances of a "home-water" advantage in college racing, each team sails what is known as a two-on, two-off rotation. This means that any given team will sail two races in a boat and then switch into another boat for the next two races. This process makes certain that if by chance one boat is "faster" than another, each team only gets the "fast" boat for two races.
However, the rotation does little to counteract the fact that sailors certainly become accustomed to the conditions under which they regularly practice. Dartmouth sails on Lake Mascoma, which is typically considered a "light air" venue. Ocean venues, on the other hand, tend to front "heavier air." Thus, when a given regatta has either light or heavy air, teams who routinely sail under such conditions tend to sail better. Of course, the mark of any good team is the ability to adapt the venue and sail well despite a change in conditions. The Charles River is arguably the most demanding venue in college sailing, with the wind often shifting through 180 degrees more than 10 times on a single beat. Imagine playing basketball where the goal posts moved around the perimeter of the court in a semi-random fashion every minute or so. This is similar to what it is like trying to harness the wind to get to any given marked point in the Charles.
Just down the river from MIT, the fate of the women's team sailing at Harvard was not as pleasant as their coed counterparts. The team of Emily East '06, Adele Wilhelm '08, Kate Hacker '07, Betsy Bryant '08, Kendall Reiley '09, Tegan Vay '07 and Anne Megargel '09 put up 13th place finishes in both A and B divisions for a final 13th overall placement for the weekend. However, the women have already qualified for women's ACCs and were essentially able to use the Victorian Urn regatta to work out kinks.
The team will have the next two weeks to fully gear up for ACCs in mid-November, visiting New England regattas in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island next weekend.