Sailing and crew race across New England

The Big Green crew teams faced a tough schedule, traveling to four different races over the weekend.

Last weekend saw lots of action for Big Green teams on the water, but the tides brought a wide range of results.

The sailing team traveled to a trio of regattas across the Northeast and managed to grab three top-five finishes.

At the 22nd O’Toole Trophy hosted by Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. the team took home a victory over 17 other teams thanks to strong performances in both the A and B division. Overall, the team scored 80 points, finishing nine points ahead of second place Tufts University.

This victory marked the team’s second win of the spring season after they won the Central Series Race hosted by Boston College two weeks ago.

The Big Green sailors also notched a third-place finish at the Admiral’s Cup hosted by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.

The A division boat, comprised of skipper Matt Wefer ’14 and teammate Avery Plough ’14, cruised to an easy 25-point victory in their division, winning four of the 15 races.

“We relied on our routines and the way we go about getting ready to start each race to stay consistent,” Wefer said. “The breeze was pretty consistent but there was a lot of current because we were really close to the ocean and we did a really good job of noticing when the current was taking us away from the starting line and adjusting before other boats.”

Dartmouth took home a fifth-place finish at the Thompson Trophy hosted by Connecticut College to round out their successful weekend. The Big Green finished nine points behind the hosts for fourth place and defeated Ivy League rivals Brown University, Cornell University and Columbia University.

The multiple successes are a testament to the team’s overall depth, Wefer said.

“We have a lot of people who can fill a lot of different roles,” he said. “Our practices are often more competitive than some of the regattas we sail at because we have such a deep team and really push each other.”

Next weekend, the team will send three boats to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association semifinals hosted by Hampton University and Old Dominion University in Virginia. The team looks to finish in the top nine to qualify for the national championships in May.

The regatta provides a final experience to test the team’s skills against the best teams from across the nation.

“It’s a unique experience and a much different event from what we sail earlier in the season with a lot of different schools that we’ve never sailed against before,” Wefer said of the championship regatta. “But it’s not necessarily about how we finish at the top. It’s just about finishing in the top nine which gives us a little room for error.”

The Big Green crew teams also had a busy weekend with all three teams in action.

The men’s heavyweight team clashed with Boston University in the Bill Cup in Boston. The race was originally set to take place on Saturday but was postponed due to travel restrictions in the Boston area. Rutgers University was scheduled to compete as well but was unable to accommodate the time change.

Rower Artie Santry ’16 described the uncertainty going into the race and how the team’s schedule had to be altered.

“One of the most challenging parts of the weekend was that the whole schedule was all messed up and that we didn’t know that we were going until Saturday at 10 a.m.,” he said.

The team didn’t see as much success as it would have liked, dropping a trio of close races in the first and second varsity eight and the first varsity four. The third varsity eight was the only boat to come out with a victory for the Big Green, defeating BU’s third and fourth varsity eights with a 6:25.2.

“They have a very good team with a lot of tough rowers,’ Santry said. “Going against our top boat, they were just stronger rowers.”

The conditions on the Charles River were very choppy on Saturday but had calmed down a bit by Sunday.

The heavyweights will take to the Connecticut River next weekend to race Brown for the Atalanta Cup, where the team will look to improve on its results.

“We’re working mainly on the technical parts of our stroke because after watching the video of the races there was a lot of power but when you get into choppy water your technical strokes become even more important,” Santry said.

The Big Green lightweight team saw a similar tough weekend competing in two events. On Saturday, the team fell to Yale University for the Durand Cup for the first time since 2009. The Bulldogs were victorious in all four races and the closes result was the first varsity eight where the Big Green fell by less than three seconds.

Sunday saw a slightly better result at the Subin Cup hosted by Columbia and also against Georgetown University. The Big Green won the freshman eight race by nine seconds with a time of 6:50.8 and finished second in the other three races.

The women’s team also struggled over the weekend in a tough race against Syracuse University and Harvard-Radcliffe on Onondaga Lake in N.Y. The Big Green finished third in all three races despite finishing just two seconds behind Syracuse in the first varsity eight and three seconds behind the Orange in the second varsity eight.

Next weekend the team will travel to Princeton, N.J., to take on the Tigers and the University of Pennsylvania Quakers in the Class of 1985 Cup.

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