Sailing sees success at weekend regattas
By Matt Stanton, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Dartmouth’s sailing team, ranked third nationally among women’s teams and 10th nationally among coed teams by Sailing World’s preseason poll, sent small contingents to five regattas spanning the Eastern seaboard over the weekend. The regattas proved successful, crowned by a second-place showing at the prestigious Harry Anderson Trophy in New Haven, Conn.
Matt Wefer ’14 and Avery Plough ’14 dominated in the A Division sailing in club 420s, winning their regatta with 33 points. Scott Houck ’15 and Molly Wilson ’13 claimed second in the B Division with 40 points. Yale University’s boats edged the Big Green for the overall win with 62 points to the Big Green’s 73.
“The key to our success was being as consistent as possible, while also sailing smart and not taking lots of risks,” Wefer said. “Doing well in regattas is about staying mentally cool and not looking too far into the future — just doing what needs to be done in the moment.”
Saturday’s conditions were windy, with a consistent southerly breeze of 15 to 20 knots with gusts up to 25 knots. Mascoma Lake, Dartmouth’s small, inland practice lake, rarely produces such conditions.
“We had to rig the boat slightly different,” Wefer said. “We depowered it a little bit and made sure we could easily sail upwind and sail downwind fast.”
Houck agreed that Saturday posed a bit of a challenge.
“Saturday’s conditions were totally different from what we’re used to in practices,” Houck said. “It’s really physical sailing when you have massive waves and you’re hiking out to keep the boat flat. We’re used to more traditional college regattas with lighter winds where you have to have your eyes out of the boat, looking for puffs on the water and wind shifts.”
Sunday’s conditions were more familiar for the Big Green. A light northerly breeze persisted through the morning but died by the afternoon, canceling the remainder of the races.
“[Sunday was] all about trying to hit wind pockets at the right time,” Colin Murphy ’15, who raced at the Mt. Hope Bay Invitational at Roger Williams University, said. “Saturday was just about keeping the boat flat and the bow down and just letting the wind move you along.”
The Mt. Hope Bay contingent of Murphy, Emily Petno ’16, Ian Storck ’15 and Lexi Krupp ’15 placed sixth overall in a field of many ranked opponents.
The Big Green women’s team earned a runner-up finish at the Toni Deutsh ’58 Regatta at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tallying 133 points behind champion Yale (101). Deirdre Lambert ’15 and Carissa Crawford ’14 took fifth place out of 15 teams in the A Division with 79 points, while Chandler Salisbury ’13 and Madi Gamble ’13 finished second in the B Division with 54 points.
Like the conditions at their teammates’ venues, the weather was unpredictable on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Big Green also sent sailors to the Penobscot Bay Open at Maine Maritime Academy and the Lark Invite at Tufts University. Both groups sailed to third-place overall finishes. Dartmouth scored 119 points at the Penobscot Bay Open, while the team at the Lark Invite scored 229 points, finishing behind Boston University (169) and Harvard University (178).
“We weren’t really concerned about results going into the regatta,” Hope Wilson ’16, who sailed in her collegiate debut at the Lark Invite, said. “I think we sailed well, we learned a lot and now we know how to improve. I’m pumped for the four years of sailing for Dartmouth I have ahead of me.”
Next weekend, the Big Green’s regatta schedule becomes even more hectic. Six regattas along the Eastern seaboard — the Nevins Trophy at Kings Point, N.Y., the Midd Cup at Middlebury College, the Boston Harbor Invite at Boston College, the Lake Champlain Open at the University of Vermont, the Hatch Brown Trophy at MIT and Dartmouth’s own Mrs. Hurst Bowl at Mascoma Lake — will feature Dartmouth sailors.
“We’re going to keep practicing hard and spending lots of time on the water with the team,” Wefer said. “Having so many good sailors to practice against and share knowledge with pushes us all to become so much better. I’m very excited to see where we are at the end of the season.”