Senior Molly Pleskus and sophomore Sabrina Van Mell sail in a regatta hosted by Boston University on April 16. (Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily)

Jumbo sailing teams both ranked in the middle ground last weekend

Last weekend, both of Tufts’ sailing teams went out for races. Enjoying the cool breeze at the start of autumn, both teams tried their best in two different events.

The Tufts women’s sailing team went to the Jen Harris Navy Fall Invitational. On Oct. 7 and Oct. 8, 17 colleges and universities at the regatta sailed off from Triton Point in Annapolis, Md. A total of 51 races took place in three divisions of interconference racing.

The Jumbos finished with a score of 153 for the A division, 164 in the B division and 127 in the C division, for a total score of 444. This total score puts Tufts University in eighth place, ahead of St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a small margin of three points. Cornell went ahead of Tufts by nine points, with 435 points for the seventh place. College of Charleston won the invitational with a score of 238 (110–51–77 in three divisions).

On the first day, 10 races were sailed from Triton Point with a south breeze of eight to 10 knots. According to the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association, the first day was one of the best days of college sailing at Navy in some time.

In the very first race, A and B divisions finished with a rough result, ranking in the 11th place. After the first race, the Jumbos continued on with better and better finish times. At the end of the third race, Jumbos were ranked seven among 17 teams.

In the fourth race, first-year sailor Talia Toland won first place, keeping the Jumbos in seventh overall. Senior skipper Molly Pleskus with junior crew Taylor Hart raced for Tufts in division A. In the ninth race, Pleskus and Hart finished in first place to ensure a happy ending for the first day, while also picking up third place in the 12th.

By the end of the day, the Jumbos were ranked seventh with a six-point lead on St. Mary’s College of Maryland, but trailed Georgetown by 30 points.

At the start of day two, the Jumbos’ records were steady. They kept seventh place with a 56-point lead ahead of St. Mary’s College of Maryland at the end of the 12th race.

Tufts had first-year Leyla Senocak skippering with junior Sabrina Van Mell as crew for the B division. Even though their performance was not as good as sailors in division A and C, they finished fifth place in the 11th race.

Starting from the 14th race, Cornell started its final sprint and gradually eliminated its margin behind Tufts. After the 16th race of all the divisions, they led the Jumbos by two points. They further secured the lead when they were ranked second place in division B of the 17th race, while Tufts ranked 13th place in that round. 

The Tufts co-ed sailing team, on the other hand, went to Rhode Island to compete for the Moody Trophy. Eighteen teams attended this race, which included two divisions of interconference racing.

The Jumbos finished the race in 10th place with 187 points in total which was composed of 107 and 80 points in division A (11th) and B (seventh) respectively. Tufts was ahead of Bowdoin by six points and trailed Cornell by nine points.

Coach Ken Legler chose to employ a different lineup in the B division. Junior Jackson McCoy skippered during the race with three different crews. In races one through six, sophomore Emily Calandrella crewed alongside McCoy while in the seventh through ninth races, sophomore Duke Saunders was on board as crew. Finally, senior Emily Shanley-Roberts crewed the last race. For division A, junior Florian Eenkema van Dijk skippered with Shanley-Roberts as crew for nine of the 10 races while junior Nick Giacobbe crewed with Eenkema van Dijkin in the seventh race. 

The Jumbos started strong during the first day of the Moody Trophy. In the second race of division B, the Jumbos finished first thanks to the efforts of McCoy and Calandrella.

On the second day, however, the Jumbos’ luck seemed to turn. The Jumbos did not perform well enough to keep their ranking. A major shock occurred during the seventh race when the Jumbos’ division A boat got a Retired-after-Finishing (RAF).

“If you foul another boat during a race and do not exonerate yourself by delaying your race with a penalty spin, another boat can attempt to disqualify you in a protest hearing after the race,” senior Tyler Paige said. “If after the race you know you are wrong, the sportsman-like thing to do is to retire from the race and not make the other boat go through the trouble of an entire protest hearing.”

Eenkema van Dijk explained that the decision was the right one to make.

“We tapped the corner of another boat shortly after the start and didn’t do any penalty turns,” Eenkema van Dijk said. “The other boat, MIT, went through with protest at the end of the day [to our surprise], but we knew we made contact so we retired from the race, taking the RAF penalty.”

Overall, both sailing teams were ranked in the middle ground of the two events. While not a bad result, it clearly shows that both teams have some room for improvement.

The best results of the weekend came in the Nicholas J Barnett Trophy, where juniors Cameron Holley and Ian Morgan sailed into second place with 92 points, just edging the Harvard Crimson B boat with 93 points.

At the Southern 5 competition on Saturday, junior Chris Keller and senior Michelle Chisdak topped the leaderboard with eight points in the A division. In the B division, senior Julien Guiot and first-year Jacob Whitney achieved second place with 18 points. With a combined score of  26, the Jumbos finished the day in second place.

These two wins were key because they were in-conference competitions. Though the results of the weekend were varied, Tufts‘ strongest performances emerged at the most important times.

Next weekend, the women’s team will go to the Yale Intersectional, and the co-ed team will attend the New England Sloop Championship.


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