Sailing teams continue to ramp up schedules ahead of championship season

The past three weekends were eventful for women’s and co-ed sailing teams, as they competed in at least one regatta each with the fleet racing season approaching.

The women’s team started off its spring break trip in Maryland with an 11th-place finish out of 18 teams at the St. Mary’s Inter Conference regatta. In a race featuring many competitive teams from the East Coast, Tufts took 10th in the B division with a boat that featured senior skipper Kate Shaner and junior crew Julia Fuller. Tufts then took 11th in the A division with junior skipper MaryClaire Kiernan and senior crew Amanda Sommi.

Just a week later, the women’s team returned home and hosted the 37th annual Duplin Trophy Regatta. Tufts earned a top five finish, coming in fourth out of eight teams and posting an overall 6-4 mark in head-to-head matchups. After advancing to the final four round, Tufts went 1-2, beating Dartmouth College, the eventual regatta winners, in two matchups, but lost to Yale and Brown. The boats featured the same sailors as the previous weekend, plus a third boat featuring sophomore skipper Molly Pleskus and first-year crew Sabrina van Mell.

The busy schedule for the women’s team continued as they traveled to Brown for the Dellenbaugh Trophy Regatta this past weekend. In a competition hampered by bad weather, the Jumbos again took 11th place out of 18. The regatta was shortened due to the weather, limiting the event to only five races per division for each of the two divisions. The A and B boat pairs both placed 12th in their divisions, but with the combined scores, Tufts finished 11th, just five points behind St. Mary’s and 10 points in front of the 12th-place Bowdoin.

The co-ed sailing team was kept equally busy over the same stretch with regattas at MIT and at Conn. College over spring break, both involving team racing.

The team was also able to get valuable practice time in Maryland, sailing against strong teams that it would not have been able to compete against otherwise.

“Spring break was a great week for training in general,” senior Casey Gowrie said. “Throughout the week of practice, we learned how some of the plays we ran worked against really good teams and were able to rethink the ones that didn’t.”

At the scored regattas, Tufts took sixth out of 10 in the Southern New England Team race at MIT. The event featured a round robin structure as Tufts finished with a 5-4 record with wins coming against Boston College, Bowdoin, Boston University, Cornell and the University of Rhode Island. The losses came against Harvard, St. Mary’s, Connecticut College and Brown, the latter team being the eventual winners of the event.

The Jumbos had four boats competing across the three divisions, featuring junior Griffin Rolander skippering with sophomore Emily Shanley-Roberts as crew and junior skipper Scott Barbano with first-year crew Ian Morgan in two of the boats for all nine races. The third Jumbo dinghy saw time shared between Gowrie skippering with junior tri-captain crew Liz Fletcher (five races) as well as senior James Moody skippering with junior crew Caroline Ambros (four races).

In the biggest competition of the break, the Tufts sailors traveled to Conn. College for the Staake Trophy Team Race, which serves as the qualifier for the New England Team Race Championships. The Jumbos finished in third place out of five, unfortunately missing out on qualifying by one spot.

“We were all, of course, very disappointed with the outcome, but we know we have some good building blocks to improve performance for next year,” Gowrie said. “We also are looking forward to the fleet racing portion of the season and an opportunity to qualify for fleet race nationals.”

Tufts finished with a 7-5 record across three divisions at Conn. College, with the same crews of sailors as the previous weekend.

In its most recent action, the co-ed team placed 12th out of 14 teams this past weekend at the Marchiando Team Race at MIT, struggling in poor weather and winning just three out its 13 races.

The women’s team will travel to Connecticut tomorrow to compete for the Emily Wick trophy, which continues through Sunday. They look to keep building on their improving performances as they prepare for the New England Championships on the weekend of April 23 to 24.

Meanwhile, the co-ed team gears up to host the Mystic Lake Team Race Invitational tomorrow and Sunday while sending a contingent to the Coast Guard Academy for the New England Team Racing Championship at the same time. The Jumbos were able to get the first-place finishes in both of the previous two events they hosted on Mystic Lake this season — the Hood Trophy back in September and the Arctic Circle Team Invite on March 12 to 13. They will be looking to keep that streak alive.