Tufts’ sailing teams persevere in spite of difficult wind conditions

Molly Pleskus, E, '18, and Sabrina Van Mell, '19, sail in a regatta on Easter Sunday, April 16. (Ray Bernoff / The Tufts Daily)

It was a busy weekend for both of Tufts’ sailing teams. The Jumbos were deployed at six different races, including the Fall Foliage, the NEISA Southern Seven, the Mrs. Hurst Bowl, the Sherman Hoyt Trophy, the Oberg Trophy and the Central Series. It was a mostly successful weekend for the team. Coach Ken Legler was simply content that the team was able to compete.

Overall I was very pleased,” Legler said. “The big difference maker [on Sunday] was the fact that the wind finally filled in. We had 13 people sailing at six different venues, and it looked like there was going to be no sailing, but the wind filled in.”

The top string regatta for the weekend was the Sherman Hoyt Trophy. Junior Florian Eenkema van Dijk noted that the standings were very tight, and the Jumbos actually held the second place spot for a portion of the first day of races.

However, following a poor second set, the Jumbos finished the first day of competition in eighth place. On Sunday, the second and final day of the race, the Jumbos looked to finish strong in hopes of climbing back up the leaderboard. Light winds resulted in only a few races being held, and the team’s performance in the remaining races led to a drop in the standings rather than a climb.

Tufts saw themselves finish in seventh place with a total score of 234 points, just three points behind the sixth place team, Old Dominion University. The team hoped for a top five finish, but nevertheless, Eenkema felt the weekend was a positive one that the Jumbos will learn from.

“We knew going into [Sunday] that we could still do well,” Eenkema said. “There wasn’t much breeze, so we only got a few races in. We sailed not so great, [finishing] seventh overall. Obviously that was outside of that top five range we were looking for, so [we’re] a little disappointed but overall we are still happy with our development.”

Senior tri-captain Julien Guiot sailed in the team’s third string event, the Central Series. After the first day of competition, the Jumbos headlined the leaderboard in the first-place position. After the second day of racing, Tufts finished the competition in second place with a total score of 124 points, just behind Boston University, who finished with 113 points.

Guiot saw the result as acceptable.

“The second day I think we struggled a little bit as both our boats were pretty heavy,” Guiot said. “The breeze was pretty light and pretty challenging for us as a result, so we kind of slipped in the standings a little bit. Overall, we were fine taking second place overall.”

At the Mrs. Hurst Bowl, the women’s sailing team suffered a disappointing 15th place finish with a total of 121 points.

According to Legler, the Jumbos faced tough conditions.

One thing the women’s team needs is more wind,” Legler said. “The wind at the [Mrs. Hurst Bowl] was barely raceable… That might be the biggest thing that can help.”

The Oberg Trophy was held at MIT, although it is hosted by Northeastern. The regatta consisted of three divisions.

Senior tri-captain Lara Dienemann represented Tufts in the A division which earned a total of 67 points. In the B division, Tufts marked 40 points and in the C division, Tufts scored a 65. In total, the Jumbos finished with a total of 172 points, securing a second place finish to Dartmouth.

Dienemann was pleased with her performance and that of her skipper.

“[Coming in second] was really great,” Dienemann said. “[We wanted] to do as well as we could. For [my skipper], junior Jack Bitney, and I, we tend to do well at venues like MIT where the water is flat and the wind conditions are shifty because it is most like the venue we sail at for practice.”

The Jumbos certainly capitalized on the familiarity of the terrain at MIT, and will move forward with confidence. This is key, as Dienemann noted that next weekend is an important one for the team.

“Next weekend is a big regatta,” Dienemann said. “It’s the qualifier for the Atlantic Coast Championship, and it is held at MIT. We are excited to have done well to show the team that we are a promising contender at that regatta next weekend.”

Legler echoed Dienemann’s emphasis on next weekend’s competition, and noted that the Jumbos will only make a few small adjustments leading up to the weekend’s big competition.

Next weekend, Tufts will be hosting a first-year regatta, where they will welcome 20 schools, including three from Florida. The NE Frosh Champs, Nickerson Trophy race will run from Oct. 28 to Oct. 29.


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