Friday, September 28, 2012

College Sailing Recap: Women’s Regis Bowl

By Samantha Bobo

Boston University hosted last weekend’s Regis Bowl, a women’s collegiate sailing event, on the Charles River in Boston, Mass. Sixteen teams readied themselves for what would prove to be more challenging conditions than any other venue seen this season. Previous winner, Dartmouth, was back and with a decent showing at their home event last weekend. Also looking to contend were the Tufts Jumbos who’s B division pair placed second in the Mrs. Hurst Bowl last weekend. Yale, Brown, URI and Harvard were also looking to show collegiate sailing that their ladies are the best in NEISA.  In spite of the variability in the wind and pressure, the Roger Williams Lady Hawks proved their tenacity in the tricky conditions winning the event by 15 points over second place Tufts. Third place Yale rounded out the top three with an overall score of 130 points.

Sailors began to arrive at the BU boathouse around 9:30 am Saturday morning and they were greeted with overcast skies, cold mist and glassy water. There was no wind to be found until around 11:00 am when it began to fill slightly from the west. With an unreliable westerly averaging about 5 mph the first race was started at 11:15 that morning. 

Day one began glassy without a breath of air to be seen when the competitors launched their boats and bobbed down to the race course. After resorting to kinetics, all boats made it to the dock and waited for the wind to fill. Slowly but surely the wind began to fill from the west, causing the clouds to break up and the sun to warm the area a few degrees. Light air sailing can be frustrating at any venue let alone one as notoriously shifty as the Charles. Wind from the west has to travel over many tall buildings in Cambridge causing strange wind effects once the air gets to the river itself.

It was noted that the predicted direction of the wind was to be out of the south that day so when the course was set there were huge shifts coming from the left, the likes of which the ladies had seen at Dartmouth the weekend before. These shifts, however, did not last as long and were not nearly as predictable as the shifts from the lake.

What made the conditions challenging was the fact that in spite of the prevailing left shifts there were still right shifts coming in over the buildings, creating two conflicting breezes in less than 10 knots of wind. It was necessary to key into which side of the course had the most pressure filling, and then play the shifts on that side because the shifts to either edge were about the same and since there was little wind pressure it was crucial to success.

After the first two sets for both A and B division the wind died again and then clocked to the south-southwest. Again, we saw the same quick two minute shifts coming from both sides, and after two more sets, Tufts was able to capitalize on these conditions, putting them in first place after the first day, closely followed by RWU whose B division duo was in a head to head tie with them.

Day two looked much more promising with clear skies and a nice breeze of about 8 knots. The fleet took to the water at about 10:15 am to a westerly breeze, showing off its drastic left and right shifts as it had the day before. Getting to the pressure was just as important as it had been on day one and being the first to catch the shifts was crucial to a good race. After many general recalls, the regatta was completed after 12 total races. The top three teams after day 1 were Tufts, RWU and Yale. They closed out the day posting many top five scores; however, Roger Williams proved their adaptability in the tricky conditions with only three scores outside the top five total between both divisions. With their A division boat only three points out of first and their B team pair leading B division by nine points, the Lady Hawks closed out the Regis Bowl with a 15 point win over second place Tufts. Congratulations to the Roger Williams Lady Hawks for winning their first ever women’s event and making school history.

For a report and full scores click on the link below:

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