Sailing Finds Success, Despite Mother Nature

By Sam Gross
Elm Staff Writer

The men and women of the Washington College sailing team were split up this past weekend as the women traveled to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, to compete in the MAISA Women’s Spring Championships and the men went up to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, to compete at the Admiral’s Cup. Both teams had equally exciting weekends, as the results proved to be highly in their favor.

The women were met with beautiful weather down in Norfolk, with a breeze that built up to 15 knots during the day. In Division A, they sailed 10 races with senior Mildred Conroy as the skipper with junior Maggie Smith and freshman Blair Towers as the crew. Smith sailed the first four races while Towers sailed the remaining six of the day, coming in second in the eighth race.

In Division B, freshman Mackenzie Needham was skipper while sophomore Erin McAuliffe and freshman Eleanor Conroy were crew. McAuliffe sailed the initial six races, winning the sixth race before switching over to Conroy who won the seventh and eighth races of the day, earning a second place finish in the final race.

Sunday’s weather was not so kind as it was both chilly and rainy with winds ranging from 7-15 knots. In the A Division, only two more races were held, and in the B Division, only four.

Towers continued to be crew for the A Division boat with Conroy, and the two managed to win the final race of the day. McAuliffe returned as crew for the B Division boat with Needham for the final four races of the day.

Overall, the women came in seventh out of 12, narrowly behind Old Dominion with a total score of 137. In probably the most exciting news yet, they qualified for the first round of the ICSA Women’s National Championships for the first time in WC Sailing history.

Of course, not to let the women outshine them, the men also have something to brag about with their performance at the Merchant Marine Academy. They too had a much better Saturday weather-wise, and like the women, the men had the majority of their races then.

In the A Division, senior Mike Whitford was skipper while freshman Dale Strong was crew. Together they sailed 14 races in one day, and had five top four finishes. In the B Division, sophomore Sam Fitzgerald served as skipper with freshman TJ Heist and junior Sam Bedinger alternating as crew for 14 races. Freshman Ryan Bailey was the skipper for C Division, racing in 13 races on the first day.

Sunday, they were met with bad weather, and, as a result, the Admiral’s Cup was finished by 12:45 p.m. Whitford and Strong wound up finishing sixth overall while Fitzgerald, Heist, and Bedinger finished fifteenth, and Bailey finished in sixth. The men were able to finish ninth out of 19, beating some of the nationally ranked teams including Dartmouth, Yale, Navy, Wisconsin, Roger Williams, Hobart/William Smith, Boston University, and Connecticut College.

All-in-all, despite the less than pleasant weather on Sunday, this weekend was quite successful for the sailing team.

The team returns to action two weekends from now, on May 12 and 13, to compete at the ICSA Co-Ed National Championships at Navy followed by the ICSA Women’s National Championship First Round in Austin, TX, at the end of May.

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