Sailing roster tested during competitive weekend

Senior Tufts sailor Alp Rodopman competing in the Nevins Trophy at King's Point on Sept. 17. (Courtesy Ken Legler)

The Jumbos set sail for a busy weekend on Nov. 4–5, returning with impressive showings in numerous environments in both individual and team efforts. These regattas featured all along the East Coast, including two strong individual showings in sunny Florida.

Senior Alp Rodopman and first-year Talia Toland competed at the highly competitive LaserPerformance Singlehanded Nationals at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Yacht Club. After 12 races, Rodopman earned 80 points, including a first-place finish in the 11th race, which was good for sixth out of 18 in the overall standings. Rodopman finished sixth overall in the same regatta last year, as well.

Toland placed 12th in the 18-person field, wrapping up the weekend with a total of 110 points in 12 races. She came in second place in the ninth race before closing the weekend with a third place finish in the final race.

“It was extremely tough competition and light breeze the whole time — not my favorite,” Toland told the Daily in an email. “I had lots of good moments throughout the weekend but had trouble connecting those moments together, leading to a result that wasn’t as strong as I was hoping for.”

The Jumbos also sent teams to other competitions over the weekend. The Jumbos finished sixth in an eight team interconference field at the Hap Moore Team Race at Conn. College with a team headed by junior skippers Jack Bitney, Jackson McCoy and Christopher Keller and featuring seniors Lara Dienemann and Michelle Chisdak along with sophomore Emily Calandrella as crew. Tufts finished with a record of three wins and four losses, with the victories coming against BU, the University of Virginia and Roger Williams.

“[The] showing [had] strong in-course plays, but generally [was] lacking in starting technique,” Bitney told the Daily in an email. “[The] breeze was light, so there were around two hour postponements both days. [The] current was strong, primarily from the West, and eddying within the racecourse, and the water was flat.”

The Mike Horn Trophy, an in-conference regatta hosted by Harvard, featured Tufts first-year skippers Wells Drayton, Leyla Senocak and Austen Freda alongside junior crews Marisa Permatteo and Sabina Van Mell and sophomore crew Duke Saunders. The team finished the weekend in sixth place, which included a victory over Brown.

The Jumbos also competed at the Sister Esther Open, another in-conference regatta hosted by Salve Regina. The A division team of first-year Marley Hillman, sophomore Kelsey Foster, junior John Duncan and senior Aaron Klein scored 115 points to claim 11th place out of 20 schools. In Division B, the Tufts team of seniors Julian Guiot and Tyler Paige combined with junior Nicholas Giacobbe and first-year Matthew Keller to place sixth, with 69 points. These two finishes combined had the Jumbos finish eighth overall.

The Jumbos also sent four pairings to the eye-catchingly named “It’s the Crew’s Regatta” promotional competition at Northeastern. The Tufts team of senior Molly Pleskus and junior Taylor Hart placed fifth in the A Division by winning its final two races, while the duo of sophomore Grace Materne and first-year Marley Hillman finished seventh. In Division B, the two Tufts teams led the way. Senior Lucy Robison and junior Sabina Van Mell topped the table, and the pair of first-years Maria Brush and Lindsay Powers finished second after winning two races. Thanks to the high finishes in the B division Tufts came first overall, beating Mass Maritime in a tie-break thanks to a lower score in the A division.

The Professor No Ringer, an in-conference regatta hosted by Brandeis, capped off the busy weekend, with the Jumbos competing in both the A and B divisions.

As the weather slowly turns from a warm fall to a cold winter, the Tufts sailing season transitions from full activity to select regattas. With the weather plummeting, as it does during a New England November, a few knots of wind become a few dozen, perhaps more than the forward-thinking Tufts student in Adidas slides ties in a year. That does not mean all optimism, however, is lost.

The fall season is pretty much over, but I’m looking forward to getting stronger and improving throughout the spring season,” Toland said.

The season will officially conclude next week with the Atlantic Coast Championship at SUNY-Maritime in New York, N.Y.

“We’re sending our best team and hope to perform well to set ourselves up for next season,” Bitney said.

Even in the hazardous New York waters and some of the most untenable weather conditions of the year, the sailing team persists. It certainly will be a team effort, but the fleet seems ready. Considering the busy weekend they just completed, what’s one more?