Monday, October 28, 2013

Michigan Takes Small Keelboat Invite for the First Time

           This past weekend six Michigan sailors made the trip to Annapolis, Maryland to compete at the Naval Academy in their fleet of Colgate 26’s. Alex Ramos (’15) skippered, with Tanner DePriest (’14) on main trim/float, Jason Doyle (’14) on headsail trim, and Kirsten Boelkins (’15) on the bow. Nick Lipinski (’17) and Max Odena (’16) tagged along as well as alternates and shore crew. (Although the lunches were forgotten on Saturday as no snacktician was officially appointed. A rookie mistake.)

Naval Academy Sailing Center
We left Ann Arbor Thursday afternoon, putting us in Annapolis at 1:30 AM. Alex’s parents Karen and Dave Ramos graciously hosted us and put up with a group of college sailors in their home for the second weekend in a row. (Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Ramos!) Friday was a practice day, with sailing starting at 1500. The team didn’t quite make their anticipated wake-up call of 0900 due to a small dehumidifier malfunction in the basement of the Ramos’s, so we arrived at the Naval Academy around 2:00 for a quick lunch and to rig. Friday saw a wind range of 18-22 with gusts higher, making for an interesting first day on the boat. However, practice went flawlessly and got us very confident going into racing. We saw a “boomer” submarine as well, prior to getting chased away by its support rib for getting “too close.”

Racing started Saturday with a first warning at around 1015. Breeze was moderate, in the range of 12-15, but noticeably picking up. We finished 2nd in the first race of the regatta, behind Mass Maritime. The second race saw winds 20-22 knots, and in the heavier breeze we were able to finish 1st. Our boat handling in the higher wind was superior to the fleet and we cruised to the finish with a substantial lead. Shortly after the 2nd race, the course was moved up the river to escape the building wind pressure on the bay. 5 more races were run in extremely shifty breeze with a range of 8-15 knots and puffy. We captured a 5th, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, and 3rd in the remaining races on Saturday.

Going into Sunday racing with a comfortable 5 pt lead over Penn, we knew our crew work was great so the focus was on a good start in order to get off the line and capitalize on the first wind shift. We ended up having our best race of the regatta, winning race one on Sunday by half a leg. Race 2 was a tough start for us and involved a gutsy move to attempt a toss set with the spinnaker, our only poor set of the day and we ended up 4th in the race, still protecting our lead over Penn and the Navy teams. In the third race, we had incredible beat legs thanks to Alex’s calls and great sail trim. Our boat speed was tops in the regatta from start to finish. A 1st to end the regatta resulted in a total point score of 24, 13 pts ahead of the second place team from Navy. It was an impressive win and a good way to increase the visibility of our offshore team as we look to compete in more and more big boat events in the future!
-Jason Doyle '14

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Michigan Qualifies for ICSA Match Race Nationals

This past weekend, I took the 7 hour trip to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, with David Oliver ‘14, Ansley Semack ‘14, and Will Cyr ‘14 for the MCSA Match Racing Qualifier.  Coming into the weekend, we knew it would be a tough regatta.  MCSA would be well represented at this event, and only one team would move on.  With strong breeze and low temperatures in the forecast, we knew that we were in for an experience.
        We arrived Friday night, and stayed with locals Frank and Phyllis Thesier who gave us a warm welcoming to their home.  We awoke Saturday morning to a cold morning and
From left-to-right: Cyr, Oliver, Semack, Cyr

plenty of breeze.  The venue for the regatta was Sail Sheboygan, a well-established match racing venue with new Sonars. 6 MCSA teams were represented, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan State, and UIC.  In this line up, we were most worried about Wisconsin, who is usually our toughest competitor, and had been sparring in J22s during most of this semester.  After a double round robin, we ended the day 9-1, putting us in first place with one loss to Minnesota.  We were all excited about our successful day but knew that we were not out of the woods just yet, with semi-finals and finals still to come on Sunday.
        On Saturday night we took the advice of our host Phyllis to try out a local place Legend Larrys for good wings and the Detroit Tiger’s game.  It was a fun night in Sheboygan, even
though the Badgers fans weren't too happy to see us.  We decided to end the night early, and watch the great classic "Master and Commander", during which David and Will acted out most of the movie.
        Sunday morning was full of fog and, as expected in Wisconsin, more cold weather.   The race committee did not hesitate to push us out onto the water.  Semi-finals was a best of 3 series, in which we were matched up against Michigan State.  We won two races in a row, and moved right on to finals!  Wisconsin had beaten Minnesota in semi-finals to meet us in the finals, another best of 3 series.  Tensions were high, and the racing was very

close. Wisconsin snuck away to win the first race of the series.  The next two races were very similar, our boats were no more than 3 boat lengths away from each other during the races, but we managed to finish just ahead in both races, win the finals, and qualify for College Match Racing Nationals!
        We are proud of our performance, and very excited for nationals in St. Petersburg, Florida in late November.  We'd like to thank our gracious hosts Frank and Phyllis, the regatta officials who ran a great regatta, and to Sail Sheboygan for being a great venue.
Stay tuned for nationals!

-Chris Cyr '16

Team Battles Hard at Navy Fall Intersectional

Over the weekend of October 19th-20th the team traveled to the annual Navy Fall Intersectional over the past weekend at the US Naval Academy. The team was lucky to have Annapolis native Alex Ramos host our team at his house in Arnold, MD. His parents provided excellent accommodations for the team throughout the weekend and we would like to thank the Ramos Family for housing us last weekend.

Saturday morning the team arrived at the Naval Academy and was greeted by the 20 other teams from 5 of the 6 other districts in the ICSA. The Navy Fall Intersectional is a unique event in college sailing because of the standard A and B division format, this regatta has four divisions with four separate fleets of boats. A division is FJ/420, B division in also FJ/420, C division is Laser and D division is a Laser Radial. Saturday’s conditions consisted of 10-15 knot southeasterly winds, 60 degree temperatures, and extremely choppy conditions inside of the Annapolis Harbor. In A division we had Alex Ramos ’15 and Karinne Smolenyak ’14, B division consisted of Ryan Seago ’14, Meredith Wiles ’17 and Katie Reid ’15, C Division included Tom Etheridge ’16 and Hubbard Velie ’17, and Division for our team was Connor Shope ’15. The 1-2 foot chop inside the harbor became more manageable as the breeze picked up to 15 knots by the mid-afternoon. Our A division team definitely did the best on Saturday with consistent top 10 finishes throughout the day. In B division Seago and Wiles struggled in the chop but, “with the switch from the 420 to the FJ after race 10, we transitioned nicely into the new boat and it showed with our 6th and 2nd place finishes to end the day.” After the first day and 12 races, the team from A to D was in 11th, 16th, 20th and 20th places respectively.

Sunday featured 10-15 knot westerly winds, flat water and 60 degree temperatures on the Severn River. The race committee was relentless at starting races one after another from 930 am until 2 pm to finish off the 20 races for each division for the regatta. All of our sailors did better on Sunday in the flat water conditions which were more comparable to our home lake conditions. At the end of the regatta Michigan finished 18th overall, with A-D division placing 9th, 15th, 20th and 20th places respectively.
-Ryan Seago '14

Monday, October 21, 2013

Michigan Triumphs at IOR

Christopher Dragon (Sydney 43)
Michigan sailors (David Oliver ’14, Chris Oliver ’14, Austin Stevens ’14, Liz Smith ’14, Karinne Smolenyak ’14, Will Cyr ’14, Tanner Depriest ’14, Jason Doyle ’14, Alison Bradley ’16, Braden Engstorm ’14) had the opportunity to sail Andrew and Linda Weiss’s brand new Sydney 43, Christopher Dragon, the weekend of October 12th-13th at the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta in Larchmont, New York.  The team was joined by Larry and Steve, two crew members of the boat, for the weekend.  The Sydney 43 team used Friday as a practice day on the Long Island Sound to get the feel for the fast boat. Seven other sailors from the our team (Ryan Seago ’14, Scott Ismail ’14, Elizabeth Wallace ’14, Connor Shope ’15, Ryan Davidson ’15, Alex Ramos ’15 and Chris Cyr ’16) sailed on the J-109 Mad Dogs & Englismen owned by Adrian and Jen Begley. The team used a local J-105, Sweet Caroline, on Friday for practice.  

On Friday night a few team members had dinner with New York City and Westchester County Michigan alumni.  We extend our gratitude to Buff for treating team members to a great dinner at Larchmont Yacht Club and Rich for organizing the dinner. 

Mad Dogs & Englishmen (J-109)
Saturday’s Regatta Conditions featured cool 50-60 degree temperatures, 20-25 knot easterly winds and 2-5 foot waves, which provided for great off-shore sailing conditions. This was definitely a change of pace from Baseline Lake in Dexter, MI!  Due to the conditions the Race Committee called for no spinnakers and changed the leeward gate to a single leeward mark.  The IRC team won the first two races and the J-109 team finished in 5th then 3rd place. By the end of the second race the wind was gusting at 32 knots and the RC called racing for the day.  The team enjoyed a great dinner and raffle at the Larchmont Yacht Club and rested up for another breezy day on Sunday.  The team woke up bright and early ready to win some more races but after continuous postponements, racing was abandoned for the day due to high winds.  The Christopher Dragon team took 1st overall in the fleet and Mad Dogs & Englishmen just missed the podium with a 4th place overall. We thank the Oliver and Davidson families for hosting our Michigan Sailors and to the Storm Trysail Club for once again putting on an incredible event.
-Elizabeth Smith '14

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Cary-Price Memorial

Seago '14 and Wallace '15 in A Division
The University of Michigan Sailing Team hosted our annual intersectional fall regatta, The Cary-Price Memorial, over the weekend of October 5-6. Our co-ed and women's teams were joined for the weekend by the University of Illinois, Denison, the University of Miami (Ohio) and Purdue.  The teams arrived Friday night and attended a social event with the Michigan team before waking up early Saturday morning to make the drive to Baseline Lake.
The weather on Saturday wasn’t the greatest, with overcast skies and humid conditions. The temperatures were in 60’s-70’s and there was a 2-6 knot southerly breeze which allowed for classic light air racing on Baseline Lake. In A Division, our co-ed team had Ryan Seago ’14, Ryan Davidson ’15 and Elizabeth Wallace ’15 and B division consisted of Tom Etheridge ’16, Will Cyr ’14 and David Oliver ’14. Our Women’s team was comprised of Emily Gazall ’16 and Alsion Bradley ’16 in A and Abigail Rogers ’16 and Tori Noble ’17 making up the B division team. After a delicious lunch donated by one of the Michigan parents, Mrs. Seago, the teams continued sailing in very light wind until the end of the day. After 6 races in A and 4 in B, the Michigan co-ed team had 15 pts, leading Miami of Ohio with 28 pts. and Denison with 35 pts.

Cyr '14 and Oliver '14 leading around the leeward mark
On Sunday, the teams arrived to light rain and muggy conditions with a 5-10 knot southerly breeze. Racing continued until early in the afternoon before the awards and then everyone headed home.  After 10 races in both divisions, Michigan co-ed finished first overall, followed by Miami in second and Denison in third.  Thank you to all the teams that came out, and we hope to see them all and more at our next regatta, Michigan Team Race, the first weekend in November! A big thank you also to Dr. Dubois for running race committee, George Griswold our chief judge, Mosher Jordan for donating awards, Mrs. Seago for lunch on Saturday, and Barry Bagels for breakfast both days.  Go blue!

-Jean Rafaelian '16

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Davis Cup

The team left left Ann Arbor at 3pm and traveled west in a full-to-the-brim Ford Escape with broken AC, only stopping for food and what seems like the only attraction west of Chicago in the midwest, the World's Largest Truck Stop on Iowa-80. Where we learned that pigs are to Iowa as wolverines are to Michigan. Alex Mayo, who quickly and inefficiently packed in under 5 minutes because he was too intent on eating a burrito and tanning, only brought with him the shirt he was wearing on his back and was left with little option than buying a "Who Let the Hogs Out Shirt? Oink, Oink, Oink, Oink" shirt from a truck stop--look for him to don this in his Ross classes in the near future. We filled our tank with Iowa's $3.20 gallon prices and made our way to Iowa City, where we danced the night away in our finest Scott Ismail Hawaiian shirt attire and listened to the Iowa marching band play a crude, yet humorous parody of Hail to the Victors.

The next morning we sailed on Lake McBride in a state park next to Iowa's campus, thankfully the government wasn't shut down yet. We finished mid-fleet most of the day, battling not only the other boats on the water but also the 15 knot puffs full of blinding rain. The wind shifts were eerily similar to our home lake, Baseline, and essentially reached the entire way to the windward mark for two races in a row on Saturday. In A division we had Eddie Zelenak '15, Alex Mayo '15 and Kirsten Boelkins '15. In B division we featured John McCormick '15 and Cody Oeung '14.  We were given pizza and orange juice for lunch, a combination that did not sit well with most of the sailors evident by the extremely long bathroom lines, and especially for one Iowa sailor who we came to learn was born without a colon, which made sense why he frequented the public restroom so often. After the regatta we went out for a night on the town, sampling Iowa's local restaurants and bars, and ended our night watching American Beauty at the apartment that housed us. After the opening scene Kevin Spacey's acting had lulled half the room to sleep, surprisingly.
The second day was called off because of the lack of wind, and we quickly packed the car with our gear and headed back to Ann Arbor. The team ended up in 7th of 10 overall, 6th in A's and 8th in B's.
-Eddie Zelenak '15

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

St. Mary's Fall Interconference

Over the weekend the team went to St. Mary’s College of Maryland. This was the first time for some of the team to the venue on the St. Mary’s River where the 2014 ICSA College Nationals will be held. Therefore the team was excited to compete at the venue less than 8 months away from nationals.

Left to Right-Seago, Wallace, Etheridge, Smolenyak and Ramos
Saturday included classic Chesapeake conditions with a 5-12 knot northeasterly breeze, with 70 degree temperatures and sunny skies.  These conditions were familiar to A division skipper Alex Ramos ’15 from Annapolis, MD, who was sailing with Karinne Smolenyak ’14 in FJ’s. Chesapeake native Tom Etheridge ’16 came as a heavy crew for the weekend, which was an advantage because the combined team of Mr. Ramos and Tom provided excellent coaching for the team. Alex Ramos’s parents and sister came from Annapolis, in addition to Tom’s parents, who drove up from Norfolk, VA, for additional support for the team. The team definitely had plenty to eat throughout the weekend. In B Division, we featured Ryan Seago ’14 and Elizabeth Wallace ’14 who sailed the first 9 races in 420’s on Saturday. The conditions weren’t as shifty and puffy as the Charles River last week, but the river featured 10-30 degree shifts with 5 knot pressure differentials around the course. This forced the teams to be on top of their tactical game to perform well, boat-speed wasn’t everything. The team was in 13th of 18 after the first day after 12 races were completed. A and B divisions switched between FJ’s and 420’s after the 9th race.

Sunday featured almost identical conditions, with slightly less wind, 5-10 knots from the northeast again.  The team performed even better on Sunday with numerous top 10 finishes and a few top 3 finishes. By the end of the day A division ended up in 11th and B division in 10th, but because of the incredibly close competition in the middle of both fleets the team ended up overall in 13th of 18. We would like to thank the Etheridge’s and Ramos’s for their support this weekend at the regatta and Tom Moulds for hosting the team at his house in St. Mary’s.
-Ryan Seago '14