Isabelle Kinsolving ’02 and her skipper, Katie McDowell Brown ’98 had been aiming for the top spot on the United States Sailing Team for a long time.
On Feb. 1, they finally earned it.
Kinsolving and McDowell Brown won the Women’s 470 class at the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta this past weekend to earn the top spot on the U.S. Women’s 470 team. Kinsolving was the assistant coach for the Yale sailing team this fall.
Yale freshman phenom Molly Carapiet ’06, former captain Stu McNay ’04, and McNay’s crew Ross Anderson ’03 also participated in the regatta, held Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 in Miami, and included all the boat classes used in the Olympics. Officials combine the results in the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta with the results of the Olympic Pretrials that occurred in Houston in November to determine the shape of the U.S. sailing teams.
Kinsolving and McDowell won the 470 class at the Pretrials as well. Their next major tests will be at the Pre-Olympics in August, the World Championships in September and the final Olympic trials in November 2003.
McDowell was one of the top women’s sailors on the intercollegiate circuit during her time at Brown.
Although this was a long-term goal for the pair, they still have more work in front of them on their quest for an Olympic medal, Kinsolving said.
“Being first on the U.S. Sailing Team, first in this regatta and among the top teams is important to us,” Kinsolving said. “We’ve come a very long way and now we’re focused on qualifying for the Olympics in November and winning a medal after that.”
Kinsolving said the international teams she and McDowell will be competing against this spring and summer in Europe will be tougher competition than those they faced in Miami.
“We feel like we’re on the right path, but we just have to keep on working to get there,” Kinsolving said. “Winning this regatta is great because it means we are the best of the American teams, but we are not going to hang our hats on that. We’re focused on what needs to be done.”
Kinsolving credited her victory to the huge amount of practicing the pair had been doing since she graduated in May.
“Katie quit her job in March,” Kinsolving said. “Since I graduated in May, we’ve been sailing full time, so one thing that definitely contributed to our success was practice.”
McNay, Anderson and Carapiet were less successful. McNay and Anderson finished 12th in a field of 21 boats. They had finished second in the event last year.
McNay said conditions in Biscayne Bay, where the race was held, worked against him. Despite the disappointing finish, the pair still hopes to participate in the World Championships, McNay said.
“The winds were quite light, which put us at a disadvantage,” McNay said. “By placing 12th we were slightly outside the definite qualification for the World Championships, but I think I will be able to go anyway because there are some at-large spots decided at the discretion of the U.S. Sailing Committee.”
McNay said that it was important for him to go to Worlds to gain experience for the Olympics.
“Although the finish was disappointing, the regatta was a success for us because of how much I learned about sailing in such difficult conditions,” McNay said.
Carapiet, meanwhile, competed in the Europe Dinghy class, where she finished 13th in a field of 25.
Carapiet said she was satisfied with her performance.
“I thought that I had some good races and some bad races,” Carapiet said. “But I think that overall I sailed alright and I learned a lot — there were a lot of really good sailors there. I hope to continue sailing Olympic class boats and hopefully one day make it to the Olympics.”
McNay said that Carapiet had definitely made an impact.
“The U.S. team coaches were all impressed with her performance,” McNay said.