Sailing team wins Nickerson Trophy amidst nor’easter conditions

First-year Abbie Carlson and senior Taylor Hart navigate the waters of Mystic Lake during practice on Sept. 21. Courtesy Kenneth Legler

As the days become shorter and colder in the New England autumn, the sailing team looks to wrap up its successful season, competing in five regattas this past weekend. However, the Jumbos did not ease off the gas despite the relaxed schedule and the frigid air.

On Thursday night, four lark boats, “Jumbalaya,” “Jumbutts,” “Jumblitty” and “Jumbabies,” sailed at the Dark of Night Regatta, a promotional regatta hosted by Tufts. Ansgar Jordan, a first-year who sailed on “Jumbabies,” felt the regatta was a fun experience for the team.

“It’s really a lot of fun, especially for people who come to watch,” Jordan said. “We try to get some teams from around the Boston area to come out and sail — like we had Northeastern here. Brown came, which is pretty surprising because that is a bit of a drive. What we do is we put little flashlights on our boats so we can still kind of see where we are going, and we put flashlights on the marks that we have to round in order to complete the race. It gets colder throughout the night but everyone is out there having fun. On the top floor of the boathouse, we do a little chili dinner for the visiting teams.”

Needless to say, the regatta was a fun way to kick off the weekend early.

Up the New England coastline in Brunswick, Maine, the team, which sent two divisions, posted positive results at the Victorian Urn Trophy on Saturday and Sunday. Tufts finished ninth among 16 teams, racking up a total of 244 points. Brown finished first with a total of 108 points through 14 races each in both divisions. According to junior Charlotte Lenz, sailors were equipped with dry-suits to combat the cold and windy late October climate in Maine.

“The idea of having the last regatta in Maine is kind of wild because it is so cold,” Lenz, who skippered the B division boat through the first ten races on Saturday, said. “When I sailed, everyone was wearing dry suits [since] winds were at 20 mph and it was sleeting.

Meanwhile, the cold and wet weather did not stop one Tufts team from outperforming sixteen other boats at the Tufts-hosted Nickerson Trophy for first-years. Tufts’ victors were Jordan, Samuel Merson, Charlie Hibben, Ryutaro Sochi, Mallory Hood, George Sidamon-Eristoff and Jessica Friedman. This squad had an overall total of 45 points, beating the second place finisher, Roger Williams, by a margin of 30 points.

Jordan spoke to the cohesive bond that he felt his entire team possessed and the huge role it played in their success at Nickerson.

“Since we have a very large [first-year] team of about 28 people, we really tried to get everybody sailing,” Jordan said. “Based on our results of the first and the second day, sailing with different people showed that we have a really deep [first-year] squad, and I think we can go far with that going forward.”

“Jumbos Ladies,” which had an all-female crew, also competed in the same regatta. Lera Anders skippered the A division boat and earned 13th place in her division. Alexandra Talbot skippered the B division boat well for 11th place. Overall, “Jumbos Ladies” landed in the middle of the pack at 11th place with a total of 186 points.

Meanwhile at Yale’s Dave Perry Team Race, Tufts’ two teams finished second and fourth among five teams in an in-conference regatta. The Jumbos 1 team finished with a 6–1 record to place second, while the Jumbos 2 team edged out the 0–7 University of Rhode Islam Rams with a 2–5 record. Trekking westward into the northern banks of the Connecticut River, two teams, one in each division, raced Saturday and Sunday at the 78th Professor Schell Trophy at Dartmouth. On Saturday, sailors braved through cold air and heavy rain, the latter causing a couple of delays throughout the day. The sun came out the next day, but it was colder. Sailors raced fourteen times.

Senior Jackson McCoy skippered the A division boat with junior Emily Clutterbuck in the first twelve races and then with junior Emily Calandrella in race 13. Senior Chris Keller then took over for Calandrella for the final race. Overall, the team earned ninth place in its division with 125 points. The B division boat, placing fifteenth in its division with 100 points, featured an equally experienced crew: senior Florian Eenkema Van Dijk, senior Cameron Holley, junior Duke Saunders and senior co-captain Ian Morgan. Yale won the regatta with a total score of 147 points.

“I did not really know any of the [first-years at] the beginning of the year, but now they are an integral part of the team,” sophomore Jacob Whitney said. “The [first-year] class has definitely shown that they are a strong class in practices throughout the week. Also, their victory at Nickerson shows that they are able to compete against other teams.”

The team also has a few walk-ons that have found a home in the sailing community. Their sailing skills have improved dramatically as the season progressed, and they have proved to become valuable assets to the team, according to Jordan. 

“We have a few [first-year] walk-ons on our team,” Jordan said. “One of them is Mo Liu; she already sailed a regatta with me at MIT a while ago, and there have been big improvements there. From all the other walk-ons, some of the practice schedules do not line up because the [walk-ons] made their schedules before joining the team, so in some respects, scheduling is a little difficult. But we have a really good team here, and it is cool to see that most of the walk-ons have stayed with us and have regularly come to practice.”

According to Lenz and Jordan, first-year Abbie Carlson will be representing Tufts at the LaserPerformance Women’s Singlehanded Nationals in Michigan this weekend. Her teammates have praised her and wish her well.

“We are all very excited for her because it is a big deal to go to nationals. Hopefully, she will do well,” Whitney said.

Since this was the last weekend of regattas, the rest of the sailing team will spend the next two weeks of the fall season practicing on Mystic Lake. Jordan said that having additional practice after the regattas have ended keeps the team prepared for the upcoming spring season.

“The purpose of our practices the next two weeks is to be prepared for the spring season,” Jordan said. “Whenever the lake is no longer frozen over, we [are] going to be out there practicing. By then, the weather might not be that great, so right now we are trying to enjoy the good weather and make the most of it.”