Monday, November 25, 2013

Back-to-Back Timme Angsten Champs

Over the past weekend the Michigan Sailing Team competed in the annual Timme Angsten Memorial Regatta hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club. The event serves as the MCSA Fall Championship and is the last regatta of the MCSA season. The team left Ann Arbor Friday and arrived at the home of our host, Alice Martin, who lives near Belmont Harbor in Chicago and is an alumni. Our team was very grateful for the excellent accommodations provided by Alice for our seven sailors.
L-to-R: Seago, Sloan, Smolenyak, Wallace, Etheridge, Ramos, Ismail

On Saturday Morning the team arrived at Chicago and was greeted by 13 other MCSA teams vying for the season championship. The conditions couldn’t have been more different from last year. Temperatures were hovering around 30 degrees, a 10-20 knot northwesterly breeze and partly cloudy skies provided sailors with winter sailing conditions. The northwesterly breeze caused extremely shifty and puffy conditions because the wind was coming on an angle from the shore. This caused shifts up to 90 degrees! An even more challenging condition facing the competitors was the ice forming on the boats. Because of the below freezing temperatures, everything on the boats became coated with ice: sheets, blocks, main-sheet ratchets, sailors etc. This obviously made sailing very difficult so after 3 hours and 4 races in each division, the day was ended. After the first day Michigan was leading the regatta with 17 pts, with Wisconsin close behind with 18 pts. and Minnesota in third with 27 pts.

When the team arrived on Sunday, the temperatures were around the twenty degree mark and the forecast wasn’t calling for any increase in temperature for at least a day. Also, the boats were still covered in ice from the day before. This meant at 11 am on Sunday, the race committee and judges led by George Griswald decided to end the regatta. This meant that Michigan won the Timme Angsten for the second year in a row for the first time in the 67 year history of the event! Our A division team consisting of Alex Ramos ’15 and Karinne Smolenyak '14 ended up in 2nd place with 10 points, and our B division team of Ryan Seago '14 and Elizabeth Wallace '15 finished in 1st with 7 points. Go Blue!
-Ryan Seago '14

Match Race Team Takes on Nationals in St. Petersburg

This past weekend, the team sent its MCSA Match Race Qualifying Team to Match Race Nationals in St. Petersburg, FL. The team consisted of seasoned match racers and brothers, Will (‘14) and Chris Cyr (‘16), avid lifetime sailor and racer David Oliver (‘14), and Ansley Semack (‘14), a small-keelboat racer, but new to match racing. The team departed for Florida, Thursday afternoon, arriving that night and staying the weekend with team member Katie Ried (‘15) aunt’s house in Sarasota.
L-to-R: C. Cyr, A. Semack, D. Oliver, W. Cyr

Friday racing began in about 8 to 10 knots of breeze, lightening up all day. The light wind and choppy water made for some difficult conditions. However, the team couldn’t complain much about the 80 degree weather.  A full round robin with the 10 competing teams (1 v 1 matches) finished off Friday’s racing, with Michigan in 9th out of 10th place after beating Wisconsin and Oregon State in two of its matches. Friday evening was spent with the team enjoying a meal out with their host mom and an early bedtime.

Saturday morning brought light wind again that allowed two flights of the Stage 2 repechage to be raced, followed by a four-hour postponement on land while teams waited for the sea breeze to fill in. Finally the breeze came back, building to about 12 knots, and the team went back out to finish its third flight of the day. Michigan won all three of its races against Oregon State, Wisconsin, and Western Florida, seeding them for 7th place qualifying them for the quarterfinals. St. Petersburg Yacht Club hosted a dinner for all competitors that night, which was followed by another early turn-in for the team.
Close Match between Wisconsin and Oregon State

Sunday brought the most intense racing along with the heaviest wind of the weekend, building up to 18 knots. A knock-out series pitted Michigan (7th seed) against St. Mary’s (2nd seed).  After narrowly losing two races in a best of 3 series, Michigan was still in the running for a 5-8th place consolation round. The first race against Stanford was lost when the team failed to complete a penalty kill before crossing the finish line; the second race of the final knock-out series pitted Michigan against Boston College, which ended with a black flag on Michigan, ending racing for the team and placing the team in 8th overall. The team then left sunny Florida and returned early Monday morning to snow-covered Ann Arbor.

 -Ansley Semack '14

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zero Races Completed at Timme's Tune-up

Northwestern Sailing Center
The team traveled to Evanston, IL, on Friday November 15th with two vans and a towing vehicle, which towed two of the team's boats from Baseline Lake. Sixteen Michigan Sailors made the trip to fill up three berths for the annual Timme's Tune-up regatta hosted by Northwestern. Report time was at 8:30 on Saturday morning and after a quick breakfast the team quickly got to work rigging the tow berths before the skippers meeting. A division went out into Lake Michigan with a building 20 knot southerly breeze and 3-4 foot waves. The Race Committee attempted one race but it was abandoned due to the increasing wind, seas, and number of capsizing boats.

Sunday morning's conditions featured even stronger gale force winds and imminent thunderstorms so the Race Committee cancelled the regatta without sailing a single race. After de-rigging the team's boats for the journey back to Ann Arbor, and helping push Michigan Tech's van all the way off the beach, the team headed home. Although there wasn't any racing over the weekend, the team left with fond memories of the trip to Evanston.
-Tom Etheridge '16

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Michigan Finishes in a Three Way Tie for the 2013 Kennedy Cup

This past weekend, nine Michigan sailors made the trip back to Annapolis, Maryland for one of college sailing’s most prestigious regattas, with the John F. Kennedy Memorial Cup on the line. The crew consisted of Alex Ramos ’15 (skipper), Will Cyr ’14 (main trim), Tanner DePriest ’14 (headsail trim), Connor Shope ’15 (trim), Braden Engstrom ’16 (trim), Kirsten Boelkins ’15 (pit), Jason Doyle ’14 (mast), and Chris Oliver ’14 (bow).  Max Odena ’16 came along as well as an alternate, serving as Michigan “Maritime’s” coach.

Naval Academy Sailing Pavilion
Ten schools sailed on the Naval Academy’s fleet of Navy 44 keelboats, 30,000lb, 44 foot monsters with symmetrical spinnakers and the infamous deck layout designed to make life difficult for midshipmen. The “winch farm” by the mast is a prime example, which gave Kirsten plenty of things to worry about on each maneuver. In short, the boats were about as far from typical college dinghies as can be.

The team took two vans to Annapolis on Thursday, with one group leaving much earlier than the other. After an easy 9 hour trip, everyone made it to the Ramos’s house by 1:30am. Dave and Karen Ramos again graciously hosted our team, for the 3rd time in 4 weeks. The team cannot thank them enough for their support.

Friday consisted of both a short practice session and racing, which is atypical of college regattas. The first race saw winds in the range of 22-26 knots, a brutal introduction to the Navy 44 for a crew that hadn’t sailed together prior to this weekend. However, a great start by Alex propelled us up the first leg in a great spot, and we finished 4th. The second race of the day saw breeze climb to gusts over 30knots, with the spray coming off the top of the waves violently. Another 4th in the nautical conditions left us feeling content with our performance Friday and looking forward to Saturday’s racing.

Saturday’s conditions were significantly more docile than the day before. For the first time in the regatta spinnakers were allowed, bringing into play a much larger required skill set for the teams. We took a 4th, a 4th, and a 3rd in the three races with breeze in the upper teens to mid-twenties. The final race of the day was one for the ages, as we were barely over the line early, and unluckily due to a flag raised by the race committee, were required to round the end of the pin to start the race. Catching a nice right shift and climbing back into the race with excellent kite work, we were back in 5th place after two legs. The fourth and final leg was described by the Mass. Maritime coach after the race as “the best sailing he’s seen at the event” (He had been coming to Kennedy Cup for 7 years). Needless to say, after the poor start, a 3rd place left us feeling very confident heading into the last day of racing.

Tied for second place with Cal Maritime, we went into Sunday’s racing with the ultimate goal of winning the regatta, a possibility we hadn’t really considered before the weekend. Typically, Michigan’s offshore team places respectfully mid-fleet, more than impressive given we’re a club program without time to practice on the boats. Sure enough, the first start sent us off course right, followed by one other boat. They shortly tacked over, leaving us off by ourselves and not sure whether the move would pay off. In true Michigan Maritime fashion, we rounded the top mark first by a mile, setting the kite and taking off downwind with a solid lead over the pack. However, a botched kite douse left us sitting in 8th place going back upwind. The team fought through the setback and ended up with a very respectable 4th place finish given the circumstances. Navy finished 1st, setting themselves up for a regatta win with a 5 point lead going into the last race of the weekend. However, with the last upwind leg of the last race deciding the regatta, Navy was in the back of the pack and Cal Maritime was nipping at our heels. The final 300 yards of the leg decided the regatta, with Cal narrowly crossing the line in 2nd before us, in 3rd. Navy finished 8th, opening the door for Cal Maritime to join the top of the standings as well.

7 races were sailed in total, leaving us with a point total of 26, along with both Navy and Cal Maritime. Cal Maritime took the tie-breaker and won the event, with Navy winning the tie-breaker for second. While disappointed we couldn’t close the deal and win the event, it was an extremely strong showing for Michigan Sailing and definitely cemented our spot in the national conversation. The win ended an incredible fall season for the offshore team, sailing three regattas and at least tying for first in every one of them. The team looks forward to next year’s Kennedy Cup and the chance to represent the United States in the Student Yachting World Cup.
-Jason Doyle '14

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Team Defends Big Ten Team Race Trophy

The University of Michigan Sailing Team hosted their annual Big Ten Team Race regatta November 3rd and 4th.  Competing in the regatta were two teams from the University of Michigan, two teams from the University of Wisconsin, and one team from Northwestern University.  Visiting teams arrived Friday night and attended a social event hosted by Michigan before racing Saturday morning.

Start of a race between Wisconsin A + B
The teams arrived at Baseline Lake ready to sail early Saturday morning.  The conditions were 8-10 knots of wind out of the north, 47 degree temperatures, little chop, and some freezing rain.  Michigan’s A team (Maize) consisted of Ryan Seago ’14 and Emily Gazall ’16, Will Cyr ’14 and Tori Noble ’17, and Alex Ramos ’15 and Karinne Smolenyak ’14.  Their B team (Wolverines) was comprised of Ryan Davidson ’15 and Katie Ried ’15, Alex Mayo ’15 and Kendall Witmer ’15, and Taylor Bradford ’15 and Mitch Kimball ’17.  On Saturday, two round robins consisting of 10 races each were completed with Maize winning every one of their races and the Wolverines winning two races against Northwestern. 

Sunday’s regatta conditions boasted temperatures of nearly 45 degrees and wind blowing out of the east at 6-8 knots.  One more round robin was completed, with Maize winning every race and the Wolverines putting forth a good effort.  All of the teams sailed well despite the cold and shifty conditions.  Excellent boat speed and team-racing tactics were displayed throughout the regatta by all teams.  Overall, Michigan Maize took first place winning all twelve of their races, Wisconsin’s A and B team took second and third respectively, and the Michigan Wolverines beat Northwestern in a tiebreaker for fourth place. 
1st place team- Michigan "Maize"

Thank you to all of the teams that came out and to our umpires Dr. Shoemaker and Austin Kana. A big thank you to our team volunteers that helped run a smooth regatta, with David Oliver as regatta coordinator, Tom Etheridge and Braden Engstrom on Race Committee, Ansley Semack, Liz Wallace, Sarah Sloan, and Connor Shope on the finish boat, and Liz Smith, Zackary Frankel, and Hubbard Velie on mark set.  Go blue!
-Emily Gazall '16