After the first 2 home football games of the year and our alumni regatta kept almost all of the team in Ann arbor for most of September, the Michigan Sailing Team began its first weekend of competition by sending one of its 2 teams of the weekend to the Prof. Hood Trophy September 22-23. The regatta was hosted by Tufts University on the “mystical” Mystic Lake in Medford, Massachusetts. The lake is known for its incredibly unpredictable winds and massive wind shifts due to the small size and large hills surrounding the lake. To help overcome the usual lack of wind on the lake, Tufts has a fleet of 24 Larks which are modified for light air sailing. The Larks have oversized mainsails and in addition are much lighter than most 2 person dinghies. This allows for much more enjoyable sailing because most crews are fully hiking in 10 knots of breeze!
When we showed up to the lake on Saturday morning we were greeted by the other 18 east coast teams and were ready to hit the water. However, as the overnight northerly breeze died, classic Mystic Lake conditions of 0-3 knots of breeze and very shifty conditions settled in. Around noon the breeze picked up to 4-6 knots and we were off racing. In A fleet, Matt Graham(’13) and Karinne Smolenyak (’15) started the day and in B fleet we had Ryan Seago(’14) and Evelyn Hull(’13). It took a bit of time to get used to the highly competitive east coast starting line and fickle wind shifts, but towards then end of the day both of our boats were breaking into the top 10 on a consistent basis against the other varsity teams. After the first day we were sitting in 13th of 19 and were ready to watch the Notre Dame football game and get some sleep at team member Alex Mayo’s house in Needham, MA. Needless to say, (no pun intended) Alex’s parents were very gracious hosts by providing us breakfast twice and dinner on Saturday and even watched Denard throw as many interceptions as possible with us.
Sunday started out with fantastic conditions of 10-15 knots of breeze and sunny skies. In A fleet, Tom Etheridge(’16) and Alex Mayo(’15) went out and had a superb first race, rounding the first mark in 3rd place and finished the race in the top 10. (Not bad for Tom’s first ever race in college!) Throughout the morning the race committee ran a Gold Cup course (Triangle Windward-Leeward) to help spread the fleet out and to see if the boats could get up on a plane! But, as the breeze died towards the end of the day, we went back to a traditional W4 course at around noon and after 20 races were completed for the weekend the regatta was over at 3 pm. After the 2 days of racing, Michigan ended up in 14th place overall of 19, 14th in A and 13th in B.