The weekend of September 22-23, 2012 the Penn Sailing Team traveled to St. Mary’s College of Maryland to participate in their Fall Interconference. From the beginning of the weekend we knew that this would be a competitive event, where we would measure up against several of the country’s best varsity teams.
Once we arrived at St. Mary’s facilities on Saturday morning we contemplated the beautiful weather conditions for the day ahead: clear skies, temperature in the 80s, and southerly wind ranging from 8 to 15 knots. With this in mind, we rigged our boats and set out on the water. Captain Mike Russom skippered A division, crewed by sophomore Patricia Andrade, while Co-Captain Christina Johns skippered B as I manned the front of the boat.
Saturday was a long, hard day with both divisions sailing 12 races sailed just out of. A division began in FJs while B sailed 420s, switching after nine races near the end of Saturday. The breezy conditions, along with some choppy water and strong competitors made for some great sailing. On most of the upwind legs, Christina and I hiked relentlessly to keep our 420 flat on the water and up to speed, while jumping from rail to rail on tacks. Mike and Patricia also gave their all in their effort to compete, while securing a few mid-fleet finishes on Saturday. By the end of the day we were exhausted from battling the wind and the waves, in addition to the opposing teams.
On Sunday morning, we returned to St. Mary’s to complete the last six races, with A division by now in 420s and B in FJs. Although the wind wasn’t as consistently strong as on Saturday, it proved to be a challenging and different day, with temperatures in the 60s, and large wind shifts that could make or break races. Midway through Sunday, Patricia and I exchanged places, so that she sailed the final three races with Christina and I with Mike. After a challenging morning this decision seemed to pay off, with Mike and I finishing in 3rd in our first race together and the girls also feeling more comfortable for the final set.
Overall, our experience at St. Mary’s showed us that Penn Sailing was capable of remaining in the fight against most of the other competitors, while we gained valuable time on the water as the Fall 2012 season comes into full speed.
To see the full results go to http://scores.collegesailing.org/f12/st-mary-fall-interconference/.
Our women’s team will be back at St. Mary’s next weekend to compete in MAISA Women’s ACC Qualifier.
-Jose-Maria Barrero, ‘13