SAILING | Sailors overcome tough start

This weekend, the freshmen sailors secured a place at the 2008 Atlantic Coast Championships with their performance at the Nickerson Trophy. The upperclassmen ended their fall season at the Schell Trophy hosted by MIT.

Cameron Cullman ’12, Genoa Warner ’12, Margot Benedict ’12 and Rob Struckett ’12 placed sixth overall at the Nickerson Trophy this past Saturday and Sunday. Hosted at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Nickerson Trophy served as the New England Freshman Championship. The Bulldogs’ performance earned them a trip to the Atlantic Coast Championships to be held two weekends from now in Geneva, N.Y.

The co-ed sailing team races in New London, Conn., on Oct. 11 and 12. Last weekend they competed in Cambridge.
Jared Shenson
The co-ed sailing team races in New London, Conn., on Oct. 11 and 12. Last weekend they competed in Cambridge.

In the A division, Cullman and Warner sailed to a fourth place finish among the 15 teams in attendance. In the B division, Struckett and Benedict placed eighth.

Cullman said he was very excited about their fourth place finish, especially given shifty winds and starting difficulties. In one race, Cullman said he and Warner crossed the starting line unknowingly before time was called. Although they finished fifth in the heat, the racing committee gave them a last place rank due to their false start.

“Overall, we made a lot of gains and passes, especially considering that we were sailing on this tiny little lake and the wind was really fluky and weird,” Cullman said of the performance.

At the Erwin Schell Trophy held on the Charles River, the Elis placed eighth overall. The event was a two-division race with sailors competing in both FJs and Techs.

In the A division, Captain Thomas Barrows ’10 and Blair Belling ’11 placed fourth, while Joseph Morris ’12 and Grace Becton ’10 finished 10th in the B division. For all most members of the sailing team, this was the last regatta of the fall season.

“It went alright,” Barrows said. “We had a really rough day on Saturday, but Sunday we had a great day and almost came back.”

The weather, Barrows explained, did not make for particularly bad sailing conditions, but each day brought shifty and puffy winds that were tricky to sail in. Despite variable winds, all 18 races were sailed to completion.

One of the most challenging aspects, Barrows and Morris agreed, was sailing the Tech Dinghies. These boats, while sailed by two people, only have a single sail. They are much wider than the usual FJs and 420s, and therefore are slower in the water.

“They react much differently [than our usual boats],” said Morris. “It is the difference between driving a big truck and a small car.”

Morris had never sailed in a Tech Dinghy prior to this weekend. This Eli disadvantage is usual, Barrorws explained. Many of their competitors who are from the Boston area practice together and thus, have more opportunities to train in the Techs prior to official competition.

The freshmen will compete two weekends from now at the Atlantic Coast Championship while the upperclassmen begin their winter recess in preparation for next year’s spring season.

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