Sailing continues to excel into October

Senior tri-captains Sam Madden and Alec Ruiz-Ramon beat upwind in front of Yale during the Danmark Trophy hosted at Coast Guard Academy on Oct. 4. Courtesy Ken Legler

The co-ed sailing team has been both very busy and very successful of late. In the past two weeks the team has competed in four meets located throughout New England. To boot, the team performed superbly at these invitationals, taking second place overall at Coast Guard’s Danmark Trophy and Salve Regina’s Olympians Trophyfirst place overall at the Hood Trophy and fifth overall at the New England Men’s Single-Handed Championship.

At the Danmark Trophy, which featured a number of nationally ranked teams, the squad came in second overall behind Yale University, scoring 228 points to Yale’s 205. In the A division, senior Alec Ruiz-Ramon, who has emerged as one of the premiere skippers in the area, teamed with senior tri-captain crew Sam Madden to score a low point total of 101, all while taking first in the fifth and eighth races and finishing as runners-up in the third, ninth and 15th races. Tufts also may have found a strong B-crew, as senior tri-captain skipper Dan Nickerson teamed up with senior crew Jamie Maffeo to take fifth overall in the division. Tufts has shown this season that its B-crew needed a little more pruning, but the team of Nickerson and Maffeo may have given the Jumbos exactly what they need.

“It has been huge to see the B team progressing so quickly and it was really awesome that Dan and Jamie put on such a great regatta,” Madden said. “To have that click this early in the year is very exciting, but now the challenge becomes using that momentum going forward.”

That same weekend, a different cohort of Jumbos took second place at the Olympians Trophy, held in Narragansett Bay in beautiful sailing conditions. In this A-crew only race, senior Duncan Swain teamed up with junior crews James Moody and Caroline Atwood to win the third, fourth, 10th, 12th and 15th races, scoring 54 points to Dartmouth’s winning 31-point score. Sailing conditions were perfect with breezes above 15 knots all weekend.

The weekend before, Tufts also excelled in their trophy meets. The squad won the Hood Trophy which was hosted at home at the Bacow Sailing Pavilion on Sept. 28, and was the team’s first victory at a major invitational on the season. At this meeting, races were canceled Saturday afternoon due to bad winds, and on Sunday, winds were very weak and racing was especially difficult. Due to the conditions, divisions were limited to 4 races apiece. However, Tufts overcame these obstacles and scored 15 points in the A division and 20 points in the B division to take the overall victory with 35 points over second place Boston University’s 47 points and third place Yale’s 51 points.

Ruiz-Ramon teamed up with Atwood in the A division to take second overall, while Swain teamed with senior crew Erin Bondy to take third in the B division. Swain and Bondy also won the third race in the B division, which was the Jumbos’ lone victory on the weekend.

Other members of the team raced at the New England Men’s Single Handed Championship that same weekend, held in Niantic, CT. With light winds, junior Rolfe Glover placed well, leading the Jumbos with a fifth place finish and 85 points. Glover just missed qualifying for the national championships, falling short by one spotSophomore Sandy Beatty was Tufts’ other competitor at the meet taking 12th overall with 111 points. Both Glover and Beatty combined to take fifth overall out of 22 teams.

Madden explained that as the season has progressed, the younger members of the team have seen development and improvement.

“The senior class has made a huge push to work on top-down development of the team,” he said. “This means that the upperclassmen are pushing the underclassmen to get better and accelerate our learning curve as a team. I think it’s really starting to work.”

“We’ve gotten into a great rhythm, but we just have to hone in on the little mistakes that we make at our events and make fewer of them,” Ruiz-Ramon added. “Sailing isn’t a game of being perfect, it’s about making fewer mistakes than the rest of the competition, and honing in on that will help continue the successes we’ve been having.”

Next weekend, the team will split up again, as some members will attend the New England Sloop Championships held at Salve Regina, while others will head to Larchmont, N.Y. for the Storm Trysail Big Boats Championship.

“At Salve Regina, we’ll have Duncan [Swain] at skipper and crew James [Moody] and Caroline [Atwood],” Ruiz-Ramon said. “The top two qualify for nationals, and we’ve been helping as a team to get ready for the event.”

Madden added that the team looks to keep up its strong performance as it heads toward championship season.

“For the rest of the season, we’re looking for top five finishes as we gear up for the fall championships next month,” he said. “Finding success early in the season allows us to also focus on switching up personnel and getting some younger team members into the top regattas to allow them to learn and develop.”