CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 23, 2017) – The 2017 Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s series of National Championships began today in Charleston Harbor on the Cooper River in Mount Pleasant, S.C. with the Sperry Women’s Semifinal Championship hosted by the College of Charleston. The semifinals are the precursor and qualifying event for the Sperry Women’s National Championship Finals, which will begin Thursday, May 25 at 10 a.m.
The semifinals are divided into two fleets, an Eastern and Western semifinal, each with 18 teams from across the nation. The top nine teams from each fleet will advance to the finals on Thursday. The competitors are racing in FJs and Z420s on windward-leeward courses with four and five legs.
The day of racing began on time around 10 a.m. under cloudy skies with temperatures in the 70s and winds from the southwest around 5-8 knots. Storms in the area brought a variety of conditions from rain, clouds and sun as well as winds building to about 10-12 knots.
By mid-afternoon a thunderstorm came through and for the sailors' safety everyone sailed in for a postponement to let it pass. The postponement lasted for about 90 minutes and racing got underway around 3:30 p.m. in lighter and shiftier winds and a cross current on the course.
Racing finished up just after 5 p.m. for both fleets as the rain picked up and the wind died. Everyone sailed four races today, which is fewer than expected for the first day of racing, so racing is scheduled to begin earlier tomorrow at 9 a.m. also to anticipate some poor conditions predicted for tomorrow afternoon.
“The girls sailed well today and made very few mistakes,” Stan Schreyer says, head coach for Boston University. Boston University is leading the Eastern fleet after today’s racing.
“We started well and were fundamentally sound with good boat speed and boat handling,” he says. “We sailed two regattas here earlier this year to prepare as well as sailing at other venues that have current since we don’t have any on the Charles River. Today the current was not the only factor, though, the conditions were variable and the winds unstable, and the girls sailed really well. They have a good attitude about the racing and know there is a lot more to come.”
Sailing for Boston University is Hannah Polster ’17 with Emily Croteau ’19 in A-division and Lydia Grasberger '18 with Meredith Harrington '18 in B-division.
The University of Rhode Island is trailing BU by seven points in second place and Boston College is only nine points behind them in third place.
In the Western fleet Brown University is in the lead followed by home team College of Charleston in second place and Yale University in third place.
“To prepare for this event we came to the Charleston Women’s Regatta in February,” says John Mollicone, head coach for Brown University, “It helped give the team a feel for the venue and the current – they had never sailed in this much current – we also simulated the conditions at home and that really helped us.”
“We are really comfortable in 420s and executed well today,” Mollicone says. Brown’s sailors were consistent today and their A-division only had one race that was not a first place finish.
“I think that we were better than others sailing in the 420s and sailing for pressure,” he says, “The girls balanced the current well with focusing on sailing lifted and in phase. They kept it simple.”
“We finished second in the finals last year with the same skippers and our goal is to keep the intensity up and make small adjustments. We are also hoping for breeze and hiking conditions tomorrow,” says Mollicone.
Sailing for Brown University is Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick '17 with Haley Carter '17 in A-division and Lindsey Baab '18 with Abigayle Konys '19 and Hannah Steadman '20 in B-division.
“We had atypical and tricky conditions here today,” says Ward Cromwell, head coach for the College of Charleston. “We tried to be conservative on the course and felt good about being near strong teams such as Brown, Yale University and Dartmouth College.”
“I think we sailed well and there are a few things that we will stress tomorrow morning before going out, but we are really looking to prep for the conditions we will see racing in the finals,” Cromwell says. “It was nice to end the day with a bullet from Paris and Irene [in B-division].”
Sailing for Charleston in A-division is Alie Toppa '20 with Annabel Carrington '19 and Caroline Bracken '19 and Paris Henken ’19 with Irene Abascal ’17 and Kelly-Ann Arrindell ’20 in B-division.
Today was a short day of racing and the scores are close for the top nine teams in both fleets an early start tomorrow will bring more close and competitive sailing. Tomorrow will be the last day of racing in the semifinals portion of the championship. No race will start after 5 p.m. tomorrow. The top 18 teams will be determined and they will advance to the finals on Thursday. A first round awards and final round meeting will take place after racing.
Top Nine Teams Eastern Semifinal, Day 1:
1. Boston University, 25
2. University of Rhode Island, 32
3. Boston College, 41
4. St. Mary’s College of Maryland, 44
5. George Washington University, 45
6. Tufts University, 47
7. Bowdoin College, 51
8. Stanford University, 58
9. University of South Florida, 63
Top Nine Teams Western Semifinal, Day 1:
1. Brown University, 22
2. College of Charleston, 28
3. Yale University, 30
4. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 41*
5. University of Vermont, 41*
6. Dartmouth College, 42
7. University of Pennsylvania, 63
8. Georgetown University, 66
9. University of California Santa Barbara, 69
To learn more about the teams competing in all of the events and to follow the racing and results visit the event website: http://2017nationals.collegesailing.org/
Dan Egan, of Degan Media, will provide live coverage for the events powered by U.S. Sailing starting on the last day of Sperry Women’s National Championship Finals (May 26), streaming from the event website (http://2017nationals.collegesailing.org/). Additional live coverage and social media updates will be available throughout the events on the regatta website.
Contact: Jennifer Mitchell |Toile à Voile for ICSA | firstname.lastname@example.org | 763-234-8286 m.
Photo Credit: Michael Wiser | michaelwiserphotography.com
The ICSA sponsors and partners through the 2016-2017 season are: LaserPerformance (www.laserperformance.com), title sponsor of “LaserPerformance Men’s and Women’s Singlehanded National Championship”, title sponsor of “LaserPerformance College Sailing Team Race National Championship” and Official Boat Supplier of the ICSA Spring National Championships. Sperry (www.sperry.com), title sponsor of the “Sperry College Sailing Women’s National Championship”. Gill North American (gillna.com), title sponsor of “The Gill College Sailing National Championship”. Quantum Sail Design Group (www.quantumsails.com), official sponsor of the “Quantum Women’s College Sailor of the Year”. Marlow Ropes (www.marlowropes.com), presenting sponsor of the “Marlow Ropes College Sailor of the Year Award” and “Official Rope of College Sailing”. US Sailing (www.ussailing.org), “The Robert H. Hobbs Sportsman of the Year Sponsored by US Sailing”.