Sailors brave tricky weather at MIT, Bowdoin, elsewhere

Members of the Tufts sailing team are pictured in practice on Oct. 17. (Courtesy Ken Legler)

The Tufts sailing team competed at a whopping six regattas over the weekend, with some sailors doubling up by competing in one location on Saturday and another on Sunday. Wind was certainly a prevailing theme of the weekend. Gusts at Tufts’ home course of Mystic Lake approached 15 knots at times, making maneuvering quite difficult for the competitors.

“It definitely has been cold and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for a little while longer at least,” first-year Evan Robison told the Daily via e-mail. “That definitely makes it a little harder to drag yourself out on the water than when it’s sunny and warm.”

Tufts hosted the Camel Team Race in Medford, coming away victorious from the six-team competition with an impressive record of 15 wins and just a single loss. Junior skippers Jack Bitney, Florian Eenkema Van Dijk, Jackson McCoy and Samuel Shea steered the team’s larks to victory, supported by a quartet of crews: senior Lara Dienemann, sophomore Emily Calandrella and first-years Juliana Testa and Matthew Keller.

First-year Jacob Whitney assisted in the coaching effort at the regatta and noted the difficult conditions.

“The wind on Saturday was super variable,” Whitney said. “It would die at some times and then pick up again during a race. So definitely very tough sailing conditions, wind-wise.”

Van Dijk, Bitney and Dienemann also competed at the highly competitive Lynne Marchiando Team Race, hosted by MIT. Despite the prestige of the regatta — which drew many Ivy League schools and teams from as far away as Florida and California — the Jumbos managed to come away with five victories, including one against Stanford. Joining the aforementioned Jumbos in the boats were a pair of junior skippers — Christopher Keller and co-captain Cameron Holley — as well as senior crews Emily Shanley-Roberts and Michelle Chisdak, junior crew Ian Morgan and first-year crew Lindsay Powers.

Up the East Coast a ways, Tufts took part in the two-day Harpswell Sound Team Race, hosted by Bowdoin, finishing third out of four teams. The Jumbos sent a pair of experienced senior skippers in Julien Guoit and Aaron Klein, who were joined by first-year skipper Bram Brakman. Junior Kahler Newsham, junior Sarah Bunney and sophomore Emma Clutterbuck crewed the team through the regatta’s five rounds. After getting off to a start as rocky as the Maine coastline, the Tufts sextet rebounded with a 3–0 record in the final round, defeating both Bowdoin entrants, as well as the University of Vermont, to close the weekend.

Tufts competed in a bevy of other regattas around New England during its grueling weekend. The Jumbos also traveled down to the Central 3 regatta, hosted by the University of Rhode Island Rams. The hosts emerged from the regatta with the top five spots, but Tufts finished highest among the four challengers. Tufts’ A team posted 51 points, which ranked fourth among all the schools’ top squads.

The Dellenbaugh Women’s Trophy at Brown University featured a rare appearance from the University of Hawaii. Despite their transglobal trip, the Rainbow Wahine finished in dead-last. Tufts, meanwhile, managed to come away with a respectable 12th place finish in the 18-team competition.

Elsewhere, Tufts placed ninth — ahead of quality opponents such as Brown and Bates — in the Boston University Trophy, which featured a number of top teams from the Northeast.

The Jumbos now turn their attention to another busy weekend of regattas, with the all-important New England Team Racing Championships at Conn. College scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Tufts hosted the regional regatta last spring, finishing second of 12 teams.

“We’re hoping our team will qualify for Nationals,” Robison said. “But we’re in a rebuilding year after losing all of our A-team skippers last season, so it’s definitely been an uphill battle so far. Our expectation is that our team will give it their all this weekend and win as many races as possible.”

The team is also excited about its acquisition of six new FJ boats (the model to be used at New England Team Racing Championships), which will replace the Larks it has been using in practice.