Saturday, March 30, 2013

Freshmen Icebreaker

Over the weekend of March 23rd and 24th, twelve members of the Michigan Sailing Team attended the Freshmen Icebreaker regatta, hosted by the University of Notre Dame.  Members of the Western Michigan University, Marquette University, and Miami University sailing teams also attended the regatta, which was exclusively for sailors in their freshman season. 
The team arrived on campus late Friday night and stayed with members of the Notre Dame Sailing Team in their dorm rooms.  The team then woke up early Saturday morning and made our way to Notre Dame’s boathouse on St. Joseph’s Lake, dining on a breakfast of bagels and shared coffees.  After rigging 420's for both of our teams, and at times using what little body heat we had to melt the ice off of the jib and main sheets, we took to the water.  Despite light, shifty winds and cold temperatures, our team members, some whom were skippering or crewing for the first time, performed admirably throughout the ten races.   
Sunday morning greeted us with even colder temperatures than Saturday as well as a light rain, but that didn’t stop us from completing two races in each division.  The Michigan Sailing Team finished with one team placing 5th and the other team placed 7th of 7 teams competing. Overall, the regatta was a wonderful way to start the season and excellent learning experience.  Thank you to the University of Notre Dame for hosting us, and go Blue! 
-Sarah Sloan '16

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Boston Dinghy Challenge Cup

Over the weekend of March 23rd and 24th the team traveled to Boston to compete in the 2013 Boston Dinghy Challenge Cup, hosted by MIT and Harvard. One great characteristic of the regatta is that there are 3 divisions, which allow for 6 sailors to compete at a time instead of the usual 4 for fleet racing. 2 divisions sail FJ’s and the other sail fireflies which are popular two person dinghies in Europe. The conditions the first day were extremely tough: 35-40 degree temperatures, partly cloudy skies, 20 knot westerly winds with gusts frequently reaching 30 knots passing through the Charles River every leg of the race. Almost every team including our own team competing on Saturday capsized at least once because of the massive 45 degree shifts and puffy conditions. At one point in the day 4 FJ’s who were hiking hard and beating upwind capsized simultaneously when a puff + shift combination auto-tacked their boats! Another race, three fireflies all bow-plowed and capsized when a massive puff hit the fleet on a run to the leeward mark! Our team consisted of Matt Graham ’13 and Chris Cyr ’16 in A division, Ryan Seago ’14 and Elizabeth Wallace ’14 in B division, and Tom Etheridge ’16 and Alex Mayo ’14 in C division. Needless to say the team was exhausted after the long day which featured an unbelievable 12 races with only one 20 minute lunch break. The team then returned to Alex Mayo’s House and watched the Michigan NCAA tournament game vs. VCU and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Alex’s house in Needham, MA.

Sunday featured much calmer conditions with 5-15 knot winds from the north, sunny skies and 45 degree temperatures. Since the river runs east to west, this northerly breeze meant for very shifty and tricky conditions. The team did much better on Sunday with top ten finishes all around which was much needed after a tough first day. Overall, our team placed 16th of 17, 16th in A, 15th in B and 16th in C. On Sunday, only 5 races were needed to complete the rotation which cut short the brief success that the team enjoyed.  However, due to the short day, the team departed Boston at around 1230 pm to begin the 13 hour drive back to Michigan. 
-Ryan Seago '14 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Truxtun Umsted

postponed team members
The Michigan Sailing once again traveled to the east coast over the past weekend to participate in one of the marquee events of spring college sailing, the Truxtun Umsted hosted by the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. This is a fantastic regatta because the Naval Academy has enough boats (20 420’s, FJ’s, Lasers, and Laser Radials) for 4 divisions to compete at a time on the Severn River instead of the normal college format of 2 Divisions sharing 1 fleet of 15-20 boats. 
The team left Ann Arbor at around 2 pm and arrived at the house of our hosts, Liz and Rusty Gowland, at around 11 pm.  Saturday featured frustrating conditions on the Severn River, which included mostly cloudy skies, 50 degree temperatures and a lack of wind for most of the day. For four hours the race committee tried to start races but all attempted races were abandoned part way through because of the lack of consistent wind. Everyone thought that the day was over at 4 pm when volunteers at the academy fired up the grill and began to serve hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad, which even led some competitors to begin de-riging their boats. The picnic was soon interrupted when the race committee announced that the wind had filled in and races were about to begin. 4 races were completed by 7 pm in a fresh 10-15 knot northerly breeze. The team then returned to the Gowland house to enjoy some homemade crab cakes, a dip in their hot-tub and some much needed rest.  
Sunday featured much better sailing conditions on the Severn River: cloudy skies, 45 degree temperatures and a 5-15 knot northerly breeze allowed for 8 races to be completed. Our team finished 14th in A division (Matt Graham '13 and Karinne Smolenyak '15), 16th in B (Ryan Seago '14 and Jean Rafaelian '16), 20th in C (Braden Engstrom '16 and Austin Stevens '14) and 18th in D (Tom Etheridge) and 19th overall. Overall, the team performed much better on Sunday as a whole since Saturday was the first time on the water for most of our sailors due to the frozen state of Baseline Lake and almost all teams were varsity programs. This was the team’s first dinghy fleet-race regatta of the season and we are looking forward to improve our fleet racing skills next weekend at Notre Dame for the Freshman Ice-breaker and at the Boston-Dinghy Cup hosted by MIT and Harvard. 
-Ryan Seago '14

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Port of LA Harbor Cup

Eight members of the Michigan Sailing Team attended the Harbor Cup regatta at the Los Angeles Yacht Club hosted by California Maritime and sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles, sailing Catalina 37’s.  After some touring of the LA area, we arrived at the LAYC on Wednesday night and had a great night sleep while staying on LAYC members’ boats.  We had an efficient practice day on Thursday under medium winds and cloudy skies.  Races began on Friday afternoon under sunny skies and windy conditions, which allowed us to complete 2 races where the team finished in 7th for both races.

Saturday greeted us with partly cloudy skies and heavy winds, crew work was excellent and we finished the day with 10, 10, 5, 8, 8.  Saturday night we had a great dinner at the LAYC and a guest speaker, John Craig, the PRO for the 2013 America’s Cup gave a presentation.  Sunday was the warmest day but the wind was still strong, which entailed three races where the team finished, 10, 7, 8.  Competitors included: California Maritime, Maine Maritime, USC, CSU Channel Islands, UC Irvine, College of Charleston, Coast Guard, Navy, SUNY Maritime and The University of Michigan.  This is an invite only event and it was the second consecutive year the U of M team has attended.  We would like to thank Fin and Deborah Bevan for their continuous hospitality on their CAL 40, Radiant and Randy Austin for his hospitality upon Paradis and his help with transportation.  Thank you to the LA Yacht Club for another great year at Harbor Cup! Go Blue!
-Elizabeth Smith '14