Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dartmouth Regatta Report

A team of seven consisting of Alex Ramos, Tom Etheridge, Alison Bradley, Liz Wallace, Mason Walters, Zack Nerod, and Nick Lipinski left for New Hampshire on a brisk Friday afternoon. The long drive there found us arriving at Dartmouth's campus during the end of their Homecoming ceremonies at roughly 1 to 2 AM. We finally arrived at Nick's aunt's house right off of campus ready to get some rest in preparation for stiff competition the next morning.

On Saturday morning, we arrived at the venue bright and early. The Dartmouth team was blasting a pleasant mix of 70s and 80s pop music to start the day with some fun. The racing started off with a postponement followed by several other delays and light, shifty racing in between. The wind came from the East which was directly across the lake from the club and though a series of large hill. This led to somewhat light, unexpected shifts--not unlike what we see at Baseline lake.

Sunday, however was a completely different animal. The breeze started at a strong 15-20 knots coming straight down the river from the South building with gusts easily surpassing 25 knots. Both skippers found it much harder to perform in the tormenting breeze as well as the various showers of freezing cold rain and hail.

Although we did not perform as well as we wanted, numerous lessons were learned and re-learned. As we left out first major competitive dinghy regatta of the season, we left tired, sad and beaten, but truly enlightened and full of desire for improvement. 

--Alex Ramos, '15

Wisco Women's Regatta Report

Friday afternoon of October 17th, five girls, three of which were freshmen, clamored into a university van and set out for Madison, Wisconsin. Rising bright and early the next morning, the girls were welcomed on Lake Mendota with a strong, crisp autumn breeze blowing so hard that whitecaps were seen in the distance. Eager to hit the water, the girls pulled on their spray gear and zipped up their drysuits, ready for a tasty day of sailing. Lane Tobin '18 and Sydney Thompson '18 represented Michigan in A fleet, making constant adjustments to the conditions which resulted in consistent improvement throughout the day. In B fleet, Lindsay Ford '17 skippered with Abby Rogers '16 and Annie Zalon '18 switching off crews, also improving as the day went on. All in all, the women of the University of Michigan sailing team gave it everything and learned a lot out on the water, finishing sixth overall out of 8 races per fleet. With a great breeze that allowed for the regatta to finish early Saturday evening, the girls grabbed some Qdoba and hit the road back home. 

--Abby Rogers, '16

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pictures from IOR

Here are some great shots of the team during the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta last weekend! Head over to our Facebook page for more pictures.

Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta

Fourteen University of Michigan Sailors traveled to Larchmont, NY for the 2014 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta hosted by the Storm Trysail Foundation.  This event matches 52 collegiate teams from around the country with boat owners from metro NYC.  This year the team was placed in the J44 one design fleet in order to prepare for Kennedy Cup, the upcoming Collegiate Keelboat National Championship. Since we were competing against the US Coast Guard Academy, the US Merchant Marine Academy, Mass Maritime, and SUNY Maritime, we decided on a name change for the weekend, briefly switching over to Michigan Maritime in order to fit in.

The brain trust in the back of the boat featured Alex Ramos (’15) on the helm and Tom Etheridge (’16) trimming main and calling flawless tactics.  The string pullers sharing the cockpit with the afterguard were Chris Cyr (’16) at primary trim, Connor Shope (’15) at secondary trim, and Max Odena (’16) and Braden Engstrom (’16) as grinders.  On the pointy end of the boat, Jason Doyle (’15) was on bow, Stu Starkweather (’15) at mast, and Kirsten Boelkins (’15) in the pit.  Liz Wallace (’15) and Ryan Davidson (’15) took turns as floats and Kendall Witmer (’15) and Abby Rogers (’16) served as alternates.

Saturday morning proved to be fairly miserable as it was cold and raining for most of the morning.  None the less, the team took to Long Island Sound and began preparing for the first race.  We were a little rusty in our first race, having troubles both up and downwind and ended up taking a fourth in the first race.  As the wind built we switched over to our #3 jib and proceeded to decimate the competition upwind ultimately taking a first.  The next two races, the team was a little more aggressive at the starts and were called back both times but fought valiantly into third place each time.  So after racing, we retired to the Davidson’s house, discussed our strategy for overcoming the 6 point deficit to the Merchant Marine Academy (MMA), and watched the U of M football team get a much needed win.

Sunday morning was a bit chilly but could otherwise could not have been better; sunny and wind around 15 knots.  We nailed the first start and proceeded to attempt to pinch off the MMA, eventually forcing them to tack out and foul Mass. Maritime.  We showed great improvement over the previous day of racing and soundly beat the rest of the fleet with nearly perfect performances on all aspects of the course.  The next race we had another brilliant start and finished over a minute ahead of the next boat.  At this point the wind shut down and the regatta was called with U of M ending up in first overall by three points.

A huge thank you to the Davidson family for housing us, Phil Gutin for donating his boat, Beagle, to the team, and Ryan Malloy and Cliff Crowley for serving as owners reps and making sure we didn’t do anything to stupid.

--Tom Etheridge, '16

Match Race National Qualifier

This past weekend, the team competed in the regional qualifier for Collegiate Match Racing Nationals in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Almost all of college match racing is in Sonars, requiring 4 sailors including at least one female crew aboard.  Our team consisted of Ryan Seago as skipper, Alex Ramos as tactician, Kirsten Boelkins in the pit, and Chris Cyr on bow.  Additionally, we brought teammate Jason Doyle to watch us from the coach boat. Sail Sheboygan, the regatta host, arranged housing for all teams.  The fab five arrived to their hosts Tom and Claudia Phillips's home late on Friday, and spent the night learning how to play pool with Tom.

On Saturday, after breakfast with the Phillips family, the team arrived to Sail Sheboygan at 8 AM for weigh-in and registration.  Without any hesitation, all teams we're sent out on the water for a 10 AM warning signal.  It was perfect Sonar conditions, with flat water and 15+ knots of breeze.  The team started out cold with a loss to Wisconsin in the first match.It would take the entire day to build team chemistry, as this was the first time the team had sailed a match racing event together. Nevertheless, Michigan sailed the rest of day without losing another race, completing a double round robin.  Due to the great conditions, racing was done by 3, and Michigan headed ashore looking forward to finals on Sunday against Wisconsin! The rest of the day was spent playing pool, eating pizza with other teams, and more pool.

Sunday brought on almost identical conditions with a little more chop.  After winning this event in 2013 and moving on to nationals, tensions were high as Michigan approached a best-of-five series against Wisconsin. Each race was very close, both teams would have their moments of control during the pre-start, and the lead was constantly changing at each mark rounding. After three races, Michigan was down one win to Wisconsin's two. Despite being on the chopping block, Michigan started race 4 with a sizable lead and continued to extend up the beat.  At the top mark, Michigan was ahead by 10 boat lengths, and it seemed that a win was certain.  The best and the worst part about match racing is that anything can happen.  Rounding the top mark, Michigan's spinnaker went up in a knot, and was unusable as the bowman spent the next two legs re-rigging it.  During this time, Wisconsin had gained the lead and extended to a 10 boat length advantage.  To put a cherry on top, Michigan's jib exploded as they came to the top mark for the second time.  Wisconsin had taken their third win and secured their spot at nationals.

Despite the sour ending, Michigan had a great weekend enjoying the amazing conditions on and off the water.  Special thanks to our hosts Tom and Claudia!

--Chris Cyr, '16

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Cary-Price Memorial Regatta

The team hosted six MCSA teams at Baseline for our first home regatta of the season this past weekend.  Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State University, Miami of Ohio, Michigan Tech, and Western Michigan University traveled to Ann Arbor to try to compete in the Cary-Price Memorial Regatta.

Eight A division and six B division races were completed on Saturday in chilly, windy conditions.  With Purdue leading the A Division and Michigan leading the B Division, the teams went home to relax and catch up on college football.

Sunday's weather was slightly sunnier and warmer than the previous day, with teams returning at 9 AM to finish two more A Division races and four races in Bs.

The racing was competitive and close, but Michigan came out on top for the third year in a row. A Division sailors Thomas Ethridge and Liz Wallace (eight races) and Taylor Bradford and Sarah Sloan (two races) placed first, and Mason Wolters and Alison Bradley (six races), Kendall Witmer (two races), and Emily Tunila (two races) claimed first place in the B Division with a straight picket fence, placing first every race.  Purdue came in second overall after beating Ohio State in a tie-breaker, with OSU coming in third.

A huge thank you to all the team members and Michigan Sailing Club members who came to help run the regatta (and providing us with soup and hot chocolate!), especially Kendall Witmer for orchestrating breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday as well as organizing awards for the top three teams, Ryan Davidson for working as Race Committee, Braden Engstrom and Tyler Davidson for operating the crash boat, Paul Townsend for acting as Principal Race Officer, and George Griswold for acting as judge.

Congratulations to all competitors and Go Blue! 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Save the Date!

The University of Michigan Sailing Team will be hosting its annual banquet on Saturday, December 6th, 2014 in the University of Michigan League. Mark your calendars and look for a formal invitation in the upcoming weeks!