With the fall season behind us, the Sailing Team’s fleet of FJ’s and 420’s have been put to bed, laying ready for maintenance and looking forward to the upcoming spring season. And while fall college sailing has come to an end, what a great season our Sailing Team has had. With 45 different team members attending 41 separate regattas, our team depth was on full display over the course of 9 weekends. While results were mixed, there is no doubt that the team grew with experience as more sailors gained exposure to the great sport that college sailing provides.
Our season started before classes as the majority of the team assembled at our sailing site on Salt Pond the last week of August for a pre-season session that included fitness drills, onshore simulator sessions, several days of drills and intense interfleet racing overseen by retiring coach Skip Whyte and incoming coach Moose McClintock. The preseason led to high placing results right out of the gate for both the women’s and coed teams.
The women’s team, led by skippers Delaney Bamford and Becca Read, rose to 13th nationally in the fall college rankings. Highlights for the fall included a close 2nd in the Regis at Harvard, a 6th in the Stu Nelson championship at Conn College and a 4th in the high ranking, season ending Victorian Urn fall champs at Harvard. The coed team, rising to 19th nationally in the fall rankings, produced excellent results across the board, winning several regattas throughout New England, highlighted by a victory in the Alt A Finals at Salve. The growing Big Boat team allowed URI to show the wide range and depth of talent on the team, placing 2nd in one division and tying for first in another at the prestigious Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta as well as placing well in the McMillan and Kennedy Cups at Navy.
While results are what drives us, it is the annual Alumni Regatta that defines us. 28 alumni teams in three classes gathered on the last weekend of October under the supervision of the current team for bragging rights of Salt Pond. Retired coach and ’71 Alum Skip Whyte, with Caitlin Abel crewing, showed that he learned a few tricks of his own while running all those races the last 5 years, showing 18 other FJ’s what it’s all about. There is no doubt that everyone came away from the sailing with a smile, beautiful weather and good friends will do that.
Veterans Day marks an important time in our country’s history, and after observance, the Team gathered later in the day to race the Fall Classico, a team championship with a handicapped scoring system to balance out skill, weight and experience. A combination of both skippers and crews driving the team’s FJ’s in alternating races results in a very even battle for the coveted Classico Trophy. Eddie Gary and Cece Schneider led the fleet in fantastic conditions, a perfect season ending day on the water as the boats were broken down and stored as they hit the docks.
With the 2019 season in the books, the team is now dedicated to next spring. Workouts have begun, three nights a week will keep everyone on their toes. Our Tuesday night debriefs and chalk talks continue and many on the team are looking for various forms of winter sailing to keep themselves shape for March. Goals have been established for every member of the team, both short and long term. Look for the results next spring!