May 1, 2011
LONG BEACH, Calif.
Georgetown, Boston College win ICSA Semifinals
Jennifer Vandemoer Mitchell
Sunday was another warm sunny day for the sailors at Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) Semi-Finals at the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier hosted the by the US Sailing Center – Long Beach and the University of Southern California Varsity Sailing Team.
The close racing continued and challenged sailors as the day began with the Southern California Santa Ana winds from the inland desert fighting the sea breeze. This resulted in some shocking puffs and fleet inversions where one part of the fleet was sailing upwind while the other part sailed downwind.
The race committee had to abandon several races due to the conditions and eventually posted a postponement until the sea breeze filled in and the wind direction settled so racing could resume.
Twelve races total were completed on trapezoid courses in both divisions in the Eastern Semifinal and 11 total races for both divisions in the Western Semifinal. There continued to be some big buildups and pinwheels at the leeward marks on the course, making good boat handling and good boat placement key to come out of the pileups on top and without any fouls.
The breeze became steady in the afternoon and by the end of the day puffs built to be around 14 knots.
In the Western Semifinals the racing stayed suspenseful until the end of the regatta with game changing events. The University of Rhode Island came into the day 30 points out of ninth place behind the University of Wisconsin, but in the next to last race everything started to change.
URI finished the day winning the race in A-Division (Matt Carmody, Maggie Craig and Jamie Simmons) and placing third in the last race with their B-Division (Amy Hawkins, Caroline Hall and Jeremy Henry) finishing the last two races in third place as well.
Wisconsin could not keep up with URI’s clutch performance and placed in the double digits in the last races of the event.
“The wind came up which helped us and we put our heavy-air crew in the last race in B-Division it made all the difference,” URI coach Clinton Hayes explained.
URI will advance to the Dinghy Nationals for the first time since 1994.
At the top of the fleet in the Western Semifinal Boston College set out to stay close with Roger Williams University in the pre-start of race 8B but unfortunately got into a windward-leeward situation where RWU, the windward boat, fowled BC by drifting into them to leeward. This helped BC close the gap and take the lead in the event.
Greg Wilkinson, head coach of BC, said, “Having a protest help us move ahead in the event is not a great feeling, but we sailed well and I am really proud of our team.”
RW sailed a very strong event, but this violation caused the two teams right behind them, Boston College (defending National Champions) and Yale University to gain points and pass them in the standings, taking first and second respectively.
In the Eastern Semifinals the Harvard University and Georgetown University sailors in both A-Division and B-Division continued to battle back and forth in the top of the fleet and, while Harvard stayed on top for most of the day, its A-Division boat had a rough last race placing 11th, which put them one point behind Georgetown going into the last B-Division race.
Georgetown was able to beat Harvard in the last B-Division race to win the event. Mike Callahan, head coach of Georgetown University said they had a chance to beat Harvard and set out to make sure it happened, but they also had to keep their eye on the Naval Academy, which was closing in as well.
The U.S. Naval Academy managed to pull ahead of College of Charleston, which stood in third place after
Saturday’s racing. While there was some place shifting among teams in this fleet, the top nine teams remained the same throughout the semifinal.
The University of Rhode Island and Old Dominion University are the two 9th place finishers in both semifinals who make the cut to go onto Nationals. They win the U.S. Sailing Grit Award for fighting hard and making the cut.
All of the close racing paid off for the top nine teams in both the Eastern and Western Semifinal groups as they will advance to the ICSA/Gill Dinghy National Championships, May 30–June 1 at the Gorge in Cascade Locks, Oregon.
4. College of Charleston
5. Stanford University
6. Brown University
7. Tufts University
8. Connecticut College
9. Old Dominion University
1. Boston College
2. Yale University
3. Roger Williams University
4. South Florida University
5. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
6. University of Miami
7. Hobart and William Smith College
9. University of Rhode Island