Sailing splits weekend at Brown, Conn. College, Yale

On Oct. 26, 2013, on Mendums Pond in Barrington, Tufts sailing races in the Peak Foliage regatta. Courtesy Nicholas Pfosi

The co-ed and women’s sailing teams got their first taste of action this spring season with three regattas last weekend, the first competitions for both teams since November. The co-ed team sent contingents to both Brown University and Connecticut College, while several women’s team sailors took their talents to Yale.

Tufts came in third place in both the Brown and Yale meets and came in fourth at Conn. College.

It was only the first race of the spring season, and the Jumbos were focused on getting comfortable back in the water and implementing many of their practice habits into the real race for the first time in these relatively relaxed, low-profile regattas.

“[Brown] was our first real opportunity to test this out in a competition setting,” senior skipper Casey Gowrie of the co-ed team said. “For the most part, all of our plans were executed pretty well, and we won some good races against some good teams.”

Among the eight sailors the Jumbos sent to the Sharpe Team Race at Brown, four of them were first-years, showing the youth and bright future of the team. The co-ed team boats that competed in this race were led by the pair of junior skipper Scott Barbano and first-year crew Ian Morgan. Among the other three boats that raced alongside Barbano and Morgan were the first-year pair of skipper Cameron Holley and Taylor Hart. The Jumbos tied for third out of 10 teams at the Sharpe Team Race, only coming behind the host Bears and the Dartmouth Big Green while coming out even with the MIT Engineers.

The other co-ed teams in action raced at the Thames River Race at Conn. College, which featured three Tufts boats in more of a scrimmage setting. Saturday required a later start than scheduled, with most boats getting on the water around 1:30 p.m. in part due to the blistering cold. Sunday got off to its usual early start time of 10 a.m. and the Jumbos went on to secure a comfortable fourth place finish.

 At the same time, six women sailed at Yale this weekend in the women’s team regatta. The pairs in action were junior skipper MaryClaire Kiernan with senior crew Amanda Sommi, junior skipper Kate Shaner with junior crew Julia Fuller and sophomore skipper Molly Pleskus with first-year crew Sabrina Van Mell. The Jumbos placed third behind the Yale Bulldogs and the Polar Bears.

The results were promising for a pair of sailing teams that are just now restarting their seasons and getting back into competitive form. The teams were able to put themselves in a good position to build on some of the good aspects of the race while also exposing some areas that need work.

“All in all, a lot of things worked, and it’s a great start to the season for us, with a clear picture of things to refine in the future,” Gowrie said.

The co-ed team quickly gets an opportunity to work on its mistakes and continue to get back into form with two regattas this coming weekend at Roger Williams University and Conn. College. The sailors will try and take the season one race at a time, but the goals for the season are relatively clear-cut.

“First and foremost, the team is focused on qualifying for the New England Team Championships,” Gowrie said. “That being said, we’re trying to approach each round of qualifiers one step at a time.”

Thinking ahead, the Jumbos must be in the top six at New England’s to qualify for a spot in the team race at Nationals. The Jumbos solely remain focused on competing on the weekends and refining their strategies during the practice week.

“The goal is to learn from our previous practice and competition experience,” Gowrie said. “We want to go into all the qualifiers focused on the event at hand.”