Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A College Sailor’s Life: Fall is officially here!

By: Kelly Stannard

Last weekend we were lucky as Mother Nature greeted us with a second summer for a few days, just to tease us. In New Hampshire this weekend, it certainly was not a second summer. It was chilly! Lots of dry suits were being pulled out of their warm weather hibernation to shake off the dust and keep many of us sailors in New England warm, myself included! I sailed at Dartmouth this weekend, competing in the Captain Hurst Bowl. While we were sailing, there was lots happening onshore. It was parent’s weekend at Dartmouth and as usual, Mrs. Hurst brought loads of delicious baked goods for competitors to enjoy. Parents brought more baked goods, hot chocolate, grilled food, and even candy to share with us. It was so nice to come off the water and be able to drink some hot chocolate to warm up, a special thank you to all of the Dartmouth parents.
The dedicated fans of Darthmouth cheer from ashore.

While most of us were trying to warm up in the heated bathrooms or by holding a hot drink, a group of young men from Dartmouth came down to show their school spirit for the sailing team. They had D-A-R-T-M-O-U-T-H painted on their chests and stood on the beach cheering their team on. It was pretty awesome to have some loud fans at a sailing event, it’s not often you have people chanting, “ease, hike, trim” or “tack that boat!”

With all of the distractions of chocolate chip cookies, welcoming parents, and the presence of some die-hard fans, we actually got some racing in too. Many events had trouble because of too much breeze, but we were shocked on Saturday morning when we arrived to see we had any wind at all! Dartmouth typically has extremely light and shifty conditions. Fortunately, there was great breeze, but the shiftiness was definitely still there. Saturday, our team had some up and down scores but we were all able to stay mentally fit when dealing with the huge pressure and angle changes out on the course. It wasn’t unusual to see at least two auto-tacks on any given upwind beat. The breeze picked up enough for heavies to get out there for two sets in the middle of the day, so I can truly say it was a whole team effort this weekend! Everyone we brought got to sail (Alec Anderson, Sophie Bellacosa, Tyler Wilson, Sean Bouchard, Jake Bartlein, and myself). Sunday, the gang came well rested and prepared for another long and mentally draining day of battling crazy shifts. Both our A and B boats sailed extremely conservatively. Things started to click, with the exception of our last set of the day, and neither of us placed out of the top 3. Being able to post consistent scores pushed the Hawks into first and we were able to win the event, and both divisions!

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