Thursday, October 11, 2012

College Sailing Recap - Women’s Navy Fall

By Samantha Bobo and Rachel Perry

The featured women’s college sailing regatta last weekend was the Women’s Navy Fall, hosted by the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. This event is the only three division fall event in women’s collegiate sailing. Doublehanded and singlehanded skills were tested in the FJ, 420 and Laser. Yale, Stanford and Navy filled out the top three in last year’s Navy Fall and considering Yale’s powerhouse performances so far this season they seemed likely to win it again. Teams from Georgetown, College of Charleston, and Old Dominion were also looking to keep this year’s Navy Fall in MAISA. After 16 races total for all divisions, it was St. Mary’s who earned the win with 256 points, a 33 point margin of victory over second place Yale, and a 58 point win over third place Navy.

Day one of the event was sunny and warm with a 7-12 knot northwest breeze. Racing began shortly after 10:00 am and the first four races were sailed on a compressed trapezoid course due to a lack of space in the harbor from the Annapolis Boat Show. For the first few races, current was a factor due to lighter breeze, as well as the obstructions created by the moored boats that were part of the show.

For races 5-8, the breeze turned more westerly, which freed up space to race. The wind was building throughout the day and by the time competitors went in for lunch it was gusting to around 20 knots. As the breeze shifted and built, it became evident that current was less of a factor, and staying in phase became the easiest way to win the day. The shifts were relatively easy to see, so checking the shifts multiple times at pre-start was crucial to starting on the lifted tack and having ample opportunity to stay in phase.

After a short lunch break, A and B divisions switched fleets so that they both received equal time in 420s and FJs. Switching fleets creates an interesting twist to the racing as 420s and FJs handle very differently. FJs handle best when the main is strapped and can point higher than the 420. The FJ hull is stiffer and narrower than a 420. This makes the transition from FJ to 420 feel like going from driving a Corvette to driving a Pinto. Those A and B division sailors that came out on top of the last eight races were those who were able to make the transition between boats the fastest, while also staying on top of the shifts and condition changes on the course.

The breeze increased after lunch and the course was moved into the Severn River with the first race starting at 1440. Due to a 15 knot breeze and speedy rotations, all 16 races were completed on Saturday by 1700. Congratulations again to St. Mary’s for winning Women’s Navy Fall.

For full scores click the link below:

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