Jumbos net second out of 17 at Oberg Trophy Regatta

Tufts sailors compete in a race at the April 10 regatta at Tufts Sailing Team Boat House on Mystic Lake. (Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily)

Despite strong winds and tumultuous racing conditions, the sailing team competed in five regattas around the Boston area and throughout New England this weekend, earning high rankings in most of its races. The co-ed team sent crews to race in the Midweek Firefly Invite at MIT, the Oberg Trophy at Northeastern, the Central Series at Boston College and the Peak Foliage at Tufts hosted by the University of New Hampshire. The women’s team competed in the Mrs. Hurst Bowl at Dartmouth.

The women’s team sent both A and B division boats to the Mrs. Hurst Bowl on Saturday and Sunday, placing sixth out of 17 teams with their combined scores. The racing conditions were windy with a high of 15 knots and a low of seven knots. In the A division, senior captain Julia Fuller crewed and senior MaryClaire Kiernan skippered to tally 113 points. In the B division, junior Molly Pleskus skippered with sophomore Sabrina van Mell as crew, earning 119 points for a 232 team total. Tufts’ 232 score tied with Yale’s team total, though Yale beat out Tufts in the head-to-head tiebreaker to claim the fifth place spot.

Fuller noted that the race was a successful one for both of its boats.

“In B division, [Pleskus] and [van Mell] did really well in the bigger breeze as they were able to outwork people and sail around them,” Fuller said.

She said that the boat in A division also started off particularly strong.

“It was really about connecting the puffs throughout the weekend because the breeze would be patchy, so there would be wind on one side of the course but not the other, and you needed to stay where the breeze was to be in the top of the fleet, and that’s something I think we did pretty well,” she said.

Racing on Saturday and Sunday back in Boston, the co-ed team placed second out of 17 teams at the Oberg Trophy Regatta with 240 total points. Seniors Sandy Beatty and Caroline Ambros raced for the A division along with junior Julien Guiot, tallying 101 points. Sophomore Jack Bitney and senior Natalie Danziger raced in the B division on Saturday before sophomore Florian Eenkema Van Dijk and senior Sam Gates took over on Sunday. The two crews combined for a score of 70, second in the division. Sophomores Chris Keller and Taylor Hart raced in the C division on Saturday, with sophomore Cam Holley taking over for Hart on Sunday. Tufts totaled 69 points in the C division for third place — just one point behind Brown University in second.

Weather conditions were tamer on Saturday, averaging five knots throughout the day, but on Sunday, winds reached 15 mph and sailors rigged storm jibs, reefed mainsails and sailed with their heavy crews.

Closer to campus, the co-ed team raced two entries at the Peak Foliage Invite on Sunday, placing fourth and fifth out of 12 teams.

According to Fuller, this regatta served as a great opportunity for new sailors to gain experience.

“Because this was a lower level regatta, it was a good time for our underclassmen to get experience and train,” she said. “It was pretty breezy at this regatta as well, so it was a good experience for younger sailors to learn.”

The Central Series at Boston College on Saturday and Sunday did not go as well for the Jumbos as the other races. Their first boat placed 11th and their second boat placed seventh out of 13 teams. However, the trio of junior Aaron Klein, first-year Nihal Pai and sophomore Marisa Permatteo managed a third place finish in the A division with 24 points. The host Boston College Eagles placed first and second in the A division, but their second place score was only one point ahead of the Jumbos’ score. 

At last Thursday’s Midweek Firefly Invite, first-years Charlotte Lenz and Grant Tilson placed seventh out of 14 teams with 38 points. Strong winds were also a factor at this regatta, as the team raced with storm sails and a heavy crew. 

According to first-year Chloe Amouyal, the sailing program at Tufts is unique in that it provides a significant number of opportunities and resources across all divisions and sailing levels, which contribute to the program’s development, the team’s overall success and its consecutive high rankings among the top New England sailing programs.

“We have a much bigger team than most people and the sailing program at Tufts doesn’t focus only on the A team,” Amouyal said. “Other schools put a lot of resources in sending an A team to nationals and winning nationals while the rest of the team exists only to train the A team. At Tufts, we put effort into everybody and try to get everyone as good as they can be and everyone goes to competition, so it means that our resources are spread a lot thinner. Everyone feels that they are valuable to the team.”

Looking ahead, Tufts prepares to race this weekend at the Erwin Schell Trophy event for the co-ed team and the Victorian Coffee Urn event for the women’s team. The teams will focus on their starting technique and on adjusting to the unusual currents that are typical of the course at the Coast Guard Academy, where the regattas will be held. The women’s team needs to place in the top seven teams and the co-ed team needs to place in the top eight teams in order to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championships in Charleston, S.C. on Nov. 16.


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