By Katie Weida
After a very successful season last year consisting of three consecutive berths in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Co-Ed Dinghy National Semifinals, Washington College has six sailors returning from last year’s team. Junior Mike Whitford is the team’s returning skipper, helping WC to a third place finish at both the Eckerd Intersectional and the Boston Dinghy Cup. Senior Caroline Hill was named captain for the 2010-2011 season and sailed as a crew last year, helping Whitford in the third place wins.
There are currently six freshmen on WC’s roster. Four of them are skippers. Even though the team is very young, Hill is confident in what they are contributing. “While getting new freshmen acclimated to the team dynamics takes time, it hasn’t really made things more difficult. We have a great core group of returning sailors that try to make the transition for the freshman as easy as possible. This large group of freshman really benefits the team, because we are able to get more boats out on the water for practice and continue to build the depth of our team.”
This past weekend, the sailing team finished 10th out of 20 teams at the Harry Anderson Trophy, hosted by Yale University. Whitford sailed with crews Hill and senior Max Kurland in A Division. WC finished in the top five in four of the 12 A Division races, including a first place finish in the eighth race.
Junior skipper Mildred Conroy sailed with sophomore crew Matt Lawler and freshman Sam Fitzgerald for a 12th place finish in B Division. WC was second in the fifth B Division race and third in the seventh. With their ninth place finish in the final B Division race, WC swiped 10th place at the regatta.
“Although we could have been more consistent, I think overall the team is pleased with how we sailed. The conditions we saw on Sunday were nothing like what we experience on the Chester River and we managed them well for having little practice in the big waves and breeze,” said Hill.
As a senior captain, Hill has many expectations for the upcoming season. “Ideally, I’d like our team results at regattas to be better than last year. I want us go into regattas confident that we worked hard all week at practice, and to walk away from them pleased with our results,” she said.
What many people are not aware of is that sailing is a yearlong sport. Even though it is far away, Hill says she is most looking forward to May and making it to Nationals. “We are putting in time on the water, every week and every weekend, from August to May. I’m looking forward to seeing the progress our team makes both at regattas and at practice. It is really satisfying to compete against and beat teams that have 18 boats at their practices, while we only have six,” she said.
This weekend, the sailing team will compete at the Central Fall #1, hosted by Ocean County College.