Women’s and co-ed sailing tack on two more top 10 finishes

Then first year Jack Bitney, left, and junior Natalie Danziger sail on Mar. 8. (Courtesy Ken Legler)

Women’s and co-ed sailing were highly successful this past weekend as both teams picked up strong results in regattas that could set the tone for this fall season.

The co-ed team traveled to Kings Point for the Nevins Trophy Regatta this past weekend. The race featured some of the toughest competition in the area and the Jumbos emerged with a second place finish behind only the Yale Bulldogs. The runner-up placement was a huge success for the Jumbos, who finished with 347 points, just seven fewer than the Bulldogs.

“We are extremely happy with our results this weekend,” tri-captain and skipper Scott Barbano said. “It was our first top-level regatta together this season and it was awesome to improve our finish from seventh last year to second this year.”

The A team featured seniors Barbano and Griffin Rolander, juniors Alp Rodopman and Emily Shanley-Roberts and sophomore Ian Morgan.

The regatta is broken up into three divisions. Division score totals are cumulative, and at the end of the regatta the lowest score wins. Tufts’ A division posted a respectable score of 147, while the B division scored 106, the second-best score of the 20 teams competing for the Nevins Trophy. The Jumbos then posted their most impressive score of the weekend when Rodopman finished 20 races with 74 in the C division. His score tied with third-place-overall Georgetown as the lowest score for any division on the day, and although Rodopman lost in the tie-breaker, his second place finish was still a huge boon for Tufts.  

“Alp [Rodopman] really carried the squad in the laser division,” Barbano said. “We had a really focused practice on Friday. We were completely dialed in and that carried over into the weekend.”

Despite a very strong weekend, there is still room for improvement and high expectations among the sailors. This is only the start of a long season for the Jumbos.

“Our expectations moving forward are to win the Hood Trophy at our home meet next weekend,” Barbano said. “[We need to] stay dialed in for the fall to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championships in November.”

At the same time, the women’s team traveled to Connecticut College for the Stu Nelson Regatta, their first intersectional race of the season.

The Jumbos finished seventh out of 18 competing teams with a final score of 206. Brown placed first with a score of 136. The A division boat, comprised of skipper MaryClaire Kiernan and captain crew Julia Fuller, both seniors, finished with a score of 109, while the B division added on a score of 97.

Although this was not as high a finish as the team had hoped to achieve, they were still satisfied with their performance, especially for it being so early in the season.

“For the first women’s intersectional of the season, we were happy with our performance,” Kiernan said. “The shifty [weather] combined with current provided for tricky racing conditions in both divisions.”

The Jumbos proved that they could compete with the best in the Northeast with mostly single-digit finishes in most heats. There is plenty to improve upon, but the team’s mood after this weekend is optimistic.

“Both boats had great speed and pulled off some impressive starts this weekend,” Kiernan said. “In general, we sailed conservatively, allowing for many single-digit finishes. Going forward, we are going to try to improve on our fleet management and having stronger final heats.”

Kiernan also explained that the women can be significantly more successful just by wiping out some easily avoidable mistakes.

Both the men and women of the Tufts sailing team now turn their attention to the New England Single-handed Championship Regatta next weekend at Mitchell Beach in Connecticut. The teams continue their busy schedules with full weekends leading into championship season in the beginning of November.