Championship Week in College Sailing

#13 Boston College won the ICSA Match Race National Championship in dramatic fashion, defeating #2 College of Charleston in the best out of 5 series, 3 wins to 1. The two finalists took two very different paths in route to their showdown. The Cougars were undefeated going into the matchup while the Eagles found their strength throughout the regatta.

Boston College started the regatta with a 4-5 record after the first round robin, a round where all 10 teams would face each other once, including a loss where they sailed to the wrong mark. That snaffu solidified their spot in the Repechage, a round where the bottom two teams were eliminated from the regatta entirely.

Typically, the repechage is not a spot where a championship contender would wish to be. However, Head Coach Greg Wilkinson thinks it helped save their regatta.

“We took a few losses early in the first round and it was clear we were off the pace,” said Wilkinson. “We worked hard to fix that issue and eventually got it done. We ended up in the Repechage because we went to the wrong mark and blew a big lead.  But because of that, we were able to get in 11 races on Saturday [Charleston sailed 6] and once we figured our speed out we were able to focus on the venue and boat handling the rest of the regatta.”

The Eagle went undefeated in the Repechage, and advanced to sail #10 Stanford, a team that went 7-2 in the first round robin. After losing the first race against Stanford, Boston College seemed to find their stride. They won 3 of 4 races to advance to the Semi-finals against South Florida. The Eagles beat the Bulls of South Florida handily (3-1) to move on to the finals against Charleston, who had still yet to lose a single race in the event.

Heading into the finals, Boston College had lost 8 races. However, it was a clean slate moving into the finals and those losses presented the requisite repetitions to turn a 4-5 team into a champion. The tribulations early in the regatta paid off for the Eagles as they found their speed and were ready against the Cougars. After splitting the first 2 races against Charleston, Boston College won the last two, beating Charleston 3-1.

“The breeze went offshore on Saturday and later Sunday, flat and shifty, we raced well [once] we were speed even. We were disadvantaged against Charleston's boat handling, but we were able to survive the starts and race better,” said Wilkinson.

#1 Yale University won the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship held at Connecticut College. The premier women’s event and the fall championship was a 16 race regatta where the top-2 teams throughout the event, Yale and #3 Boston College walked away from the competition. Yale won the event, wire to wire, with 69 points, behind second place finishes from both their A and B-Division boats. Their A-Division boat was skippered by senior, Casey Klingler with freshman, Claudia Loiacono in the front of the boat.

Klingler and Loiacono totaled 45 points and finished 9 points behind #2 Coast Guard Academy senior, Dana Rohde with Maddie Ekin ‘20. The Coast Guard tandem sailed impressively in difficult conditions, finishing with only 1 race outside the top 8 and two bullets to end the event. Rodhe and Ekin won A-Division with 36 points after 8 races.

Yale’s second place finish in B-Division by Louisa Nordstrom ‘20 and KB Knapp ‘18 was bested by Boston College’s Sophia Reineke ‘21, Lily McGrath ‘18 and Alice Bohan ‘18. Reineke, McGrath and Bohan finished with no races outside the top-5 and 4 bullets in the 8 races sailed. The Boston College B-Division boat finished with 20 points. Yale was close behind with 24 points. It was the cumulative effort by Yale in both divisions that captured the championship for the Bulldogs.

Coast Guard finished 3rd, 34 points behind Boston College, with 110 points. #5 Brown finished 4th with 117 points and #6 Charleston finished 5th with 133.

#6 Dartmouth College won the Coed Atlantic Coast Championship with 146 points after 20 races sailed in the two division combined. Holding off a late surge by  #9 Boston University, the Big Green sailed just well enough to win a difficult regatta where scores were all over the place. The average required to win this event was a 6.6 finish. The significant current of the East River coupled with light breeze made for extremely difficult racing.

“The conditions were definitely challenging on the race course in the river,” said Dartmouth’s assistant coach, Ali Blumenthal. “We were focused on executing our starts throughout the event, which was very challenging on Sunday due to the adverse current and very little breeze.”

Dartmouth was the only team to finish in the top-6 in both of the two divisions, 2nd in A-Division and 6th in B. “It was a especially tough event because it was hard to know if you were doing well until you looked at the scores,” said Blumenthal.

This event was not the first time the Williford brothers won an event with an ideal combination of talent, speed, leadership and experience.

Augie Dale ‘19 and Katherine Lounsbury ‘20 snuck past Christopher Williford ‘19 and Rebecca McElvain ‘19 on the last race of the event, to win A-Division with 62 points. Williford and McElvain had 65. Martim Anderson ‘18 and Rebecca Anderson ‘18 (of no relation) won B-Division with 70 points.

#5 MIT finished 3rd with 157 (2 points behind Boston University), #7 Roger Williams finished 4th with 159 and #4 Yale finished 5th with 160, completing an all New England top-5, besting an exclusively NEISA top-4 from the Women’s ACCs.

#10 Stanford won the Fall Pacific Coast Championship, a 3-division event held at UC Santa Barbara. A regatta with 24 boats on the starting line, 3 divisions of  FJs and multiple entries from each team truly characterized racing on the west coast.

Will La Dow ‘18 and Taylor Kirkpatrick ‘20 of Stanford won A-Division decisively with 17 points in 7 races sailed, 11 points ahead of the next closest boat.

William Marshall ‘19 of Stanford with Cassie Obel ‘19 won B-Division narrowly over Christopher Weis ‘18 and Samantha Obel ‘21 of Santa Barbara, beating the Gauchos by 3 points.

It was in the C-Division where the Gauchos made it close. A 9-point victory in C-Division by Neil Stapleton ‘18 with Robert Johnson ‘19 and Claire Hunt ‘19 was significant because Stanford finished 4th in that division, 17 points behind the Gauchos.

Despite the heroics for the Gauchos in the C-Division, Stanford held onto a 1-point win at the event, beating UC Santa Barbara, 66 to 67.