Seven Michigan Sailing women hopped in a university van the morning of Sunday May 19th to drive straight down to St. Petersburg Florida. Heavy rain made the trip interesting, but the team arrived safely to sophomore Katie Ried’s aunt’s house around midnight. Sue greeted us with open arms and made us feel at home in her wonderful Florida home. The sailors relaxed on Monday at the house pool, and drove to check out the sailing venue, around 30 minutes from the house. Nationals was hosted by Eckerd College and University of South Florida in partnership with St. Petersburg Yacht Club.
The team reported to the sailing site early on Tuesday morning for the first day of Semi-finals. 18 teams fought for 9 spots to join the 9 "pre-qualified" team for women's nationals. The wind was very light, maximum of 10 knots all day with average around 5-6 knots. Rachel Barch and Emily Gazall started in A Division and Ellen Dubois and Kirsten Corneliussen started in B division. The hosts had two fleets of boats so all racers stayed on the water until a lunch break around noon when the wind died. The girls got in a couple good races, a 11th and 10th to start in A's and the girls in B's had some great starts and got a 5th in a race. After a long lunch break the girls went back out for a couple more, then were sent in because of an upcoming storm. The girls went back out around 6PM to finish up the required 8 races to complete the regatta. The breeze picked up so Taylor Landeryou came in to sail with Rachel. Alternates for the day Abby Rogers and Heather Nowak were very helpful throughout the racing. Finally the team left the sailing facility around 8 PM.
Sue had made a relaxing dinner at home for the sailors, who were very appreciative. We were all exhausted so we went to bed soon after to prepare for the next day of racing. For Wednesday, no more races were required to complete the regatta, but of course the regatta officials wanted to get in as much races as possible. The girls went out around 9 am but quickly returned to shore due to a wind postponement. After sitting on land for hours, we were sent back out at 11:40 to try to start both A and B for one more race before the 12 noon deadline to end Semi-finals. A's started at 11:58 but the race committee couldn’t start the B division race before the noon deadline. So A's race was abandoned and the girls sailed in. A's ended up in 15th out of 18, B's 17th, and the team 16th overall. We were pleased to have recorded the best finish out of MCSA teams participating in Semis and were happy to have freshmen see what nationals is like so they can prepare for future years.
Lastly, this was the final nationals for Seniors Rachel Barch and Kirsten Cornielussen and Junior Ellen Dubois (graduating early). We wish them luck in their future sailing endeavors!
-Rachel Barch '13