Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bob Bavier Team Race Regatta

Seven brave Michigan sailors made the trek to Charleston, South Carolina, this past weekend to compete in their first regatta of the season, the Bob Bavier Team Race hosted by the College of Charleston. Baseline Lake is still frozen over, but lack of practice did not deter this group. Ryan Seago, Matt Graham, Tom Etheridge, Connor Shope, and Katie Bill and I left snowy Ann Arbor at noon on Friday and started on the 14-hour drive to Charleston. Along the way, we picked up Karinne Smolenyak who is studying in DC for the semester.
We arrived in Charleston at a reasonable hour of day, 3:30 am. Two alumni families graciously volunteered to host our team for the weekend and were kind enough to wait up for us at this late hour. I was one of the four team members who stayed with Kevin Verner and the other three team members stayed with Dave Williams. This was my fifth away regatta on the Michigan Sailing team, and both hosts were very hospitable. Our hosts would wake up before us each morning a prepare breakfast for us and chat with us about the regatta. Saturday night, Katie and I sat with Kevin for two hours, sharing stories about the University of Michigan.
College of Charleston
Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early, collected our team and headed over to the nearby Charleston Harbor. It was pouring rain when we arrived at 9am and there was no wind, so the first round robin was postponed on shore until 1:45 p.m. The competition for the regatta included some of the best teams in the country, including Georgetown, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the U.S. Naval Academy, College of Charleston, Yale, Stanford, Eckerd College, South Florida, and Miami (Fla.). After the rain had stopped and the wind had picked up to about 8-15 knots, our team hopped into the FJs for the first time since November and started the first round robin. It was difficult to compete against the other varsity teams that had been practicing for the past month, and we were mostly fleet racing our competitors. However it was a great practice being in boats again. Despite our losses, by the end of the day, the crews and skippers had shaken off their cobwebs and began to perform better. That night, the team ventured into downtown Charleston to dine together at a local favorite, Santis.  
The team arrived at the harbor Sunday morning, eager to prove themselves. Decreasing clouds and sunshine made for great racing on Sunday as four races were completed using the Cooper River Cross Current Double Modified Port Triangle in a strong ebb tide and a northwesterly ranging from 5-10 knots. We were able to actually start team racing our competitors due to our refreshed boat handling skills. With each race we got better and better. The weather was awesome as well, sunny and 67 degrees! By our third race of the day, we were in heated competition with our opponent, Yale. It was an extremely close race and Connor, the alternate crew reported that it had all the spectators on the dock talking. Entering our final race with a boost of confidence we were able to defeat Eckerd in decisive fashion. We sunbathed and took in the beautiful scenery of the harbor (and of our small victory), then headed back home at around 1 pm. We arrived Ann Arbor well into the AM, content from another great regatta.                                                      
-Sophie Lucente ‘16