Jumbos make waves in 2018 season

Senior co-captain Julien Guiot and first-year Wells Drayton compete in the Oberg Trophy on April 14. Courtesy Ken Legler

After braving the wild New England weather in the late-winter and early-spring months, the Tufts sailing team posted strong results in a handful of championship regattas.

The women’s team qualified for the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Championships (ICSA) semifinals later this month with its performance at the New England Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (NEISA) Championship in New London, Conn. from April 21–22. After sitting in the 12th position for most of the weekend, the A division and B division teams posted impressive fifth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively, in their penultimate races to sneak four points ahead of Roger Williams and into the 11th and final qualifying spot.

The team kicked off its season on March 3–4 at the Sharpe Team Race Trophy, finishing fifth overall against some of the best teams in New England. A week later, the Jumbos posted a second-place result at the Wood Trophy, where they were edged out in a tiebreaker by the Harvard Crimson. The women’s team posted a runner-up finish at the Duplin Trophy on March 24–25 behind a sextet of its top sailors.

At the New England Team Racing Championship, hosted by Conn. College from April 7–8, Tufts battled to an 11th-place finish, defeating Brown and Coast Guard. The Jumbos transitioned into the fleet racing season, in mid-April, placing 15th at the Thompson Trophy and 13th at the Owen Trophy. The following weekend was extremely busy for the team, as it competed in seven regattas throughout the Northeast, including the aforementioned NEISA Championship.

The Jumbos also participated in the Thompson Trophy on the co-ed side, finishing 15th out of 18 teams. In the first A division race, rising senior co-captain Cam Holley and rising senior Ian Morgan placed second overall — their top finish of the competition. Rising senior Jack Bitney and graduating senior co-captain Lara Dienemann matched that result with a second-place finish in the final race of the B division, as did rising senior Jackson McCoy and rising sophomore Wells Drayton in C division.

At the co-ed New England Dinghy Championship from April 28–29 at Brown, the team finished 12th in the 18-team field. The Jumbos won two races across the two-day competition: the sixth in A division and the second in B division.

The Jumbos will travel to Norfolk, Va. for the ICSA Team Racing Championships from May 22 until June 1. Last year, the women’s team finished sixth in the semifinal before placing 14th in the championship, and the co-ed team tied for ninth at the team racing championship and finished third in the dinghy championship.

Led by coach Ken Legler, who has won 20 national championships in his 38-year tenure, Tufts sailors across all classes turned in strong seasons. Graduating senior co-captains Lara Dienemann and Julien Guiot will bid the Jumbos farewell after storied careers, as will graduating senior Alp Rodopman. In the 2018–19 campaign, rising senior co-captain Cam Holley will lead an experienced incoming senior class that includes Florian Eenkema van Dijk, Jack Bitney and Jackson McCoy. Rising sophomore Talia Toland also returns having skippered at Nationals this season. The Kirkland, Wash. native is just one of a healthy Class of 2021 contingent.

“We brought a lot of competition,” rising sophomore Jacob Whitney said. “Although we’re not as experienced as upperclassmen … we brought in all-around good sailors. A lot of sailors have sailed at high-level regattas. I’d say we’re contributing by all going to these regattas and being able to help out or to compete, which in turn helps us learn more about college sailing.”

With that experience under their belts, the Jumbos will return to the water in the fall with high hopes.