Penn Sailing finishes 15th at Atlantic Coast Championship

The sailing portion of the fall season has come to a close after this weekend’s Atlantic Coast Championships hosted by the College of Charleston. Bringing together the top teams from each of the three Atlantic coast conferences (NEISA, MAISA, and SAISA), the event put us up against the toughest competition that we faced this fall.

Charleston is the farthest we have gone for a regatta this semester, so we decided to leave on Thursday night and stay over with the Hardings in Annapolis before doing the final 8 hours on Friday. Despite the distance, a good time was had by all, and we arrived in Charleston in time to have dinner and get to sleep early.

After a good night of sleep and a nutritious breakfast, we were among the first teams to arrive at the marina on Saturday morning. This gave the team, which consisted of myself, Meaghan Harding, Catie Hopkins, Cary Kane, Patricia Andrade, and Jack Swikart, plenty of time to rig boats and get our minds into race mode. Promptly after the 9:15 skipper’s meeting, both fleets were sent out to Crab Bank to drift around until the breeze filled in. After a one hour delay, the first A division race was started at about 11 o’clock with Jack and Pati starting out the day in the 4-7 knot shifty easterly that held until the end of Saturday’s racing. Catie and I started the day in B division. Nine very challenging races were completed in each division before the wind shut off completely. Despite the tough conditions that led to many ups and downs, the team was able to maintain its composure throughout the day thanks in large part to Coach Jack, who kept us mentally focused, and Cary and Meg, who kept us in good spirits and made sure we had enough water and food to keep us going. Going into Sunday, we were sitting in 15th place overall, though the points were very close among most of the teams.

We left the marina content with our performance, but eager for what Sunday would bring. In honor of Coach Jack’s last dinner with the team, we went to his favorite restaurant – Outback Steakhouse. Thank you Mr. Swikart for that delicious treat!

To keep Saturday’s routine consistent, the team was up early and once again one of the first teams at the venue. Just like the previous day, we were sent out to Crab Bank and waited in postponement for the easterly to fill in. Once it did, the race committee did not hesitate to start the first race. After five races in each division in similar conditions as Saturday, the Atlantic Coast Championships came to a close. Jack and Pati saw their results improve relative to Saturday as did Catie and I, though the team remained in 15th overall.

After leaving the marina, we headed to Charleston and walked around the historic town before beginning our long trek back to campus.

Overall, we learned a lot at the event and showed that we can hold our own against the top teams in the country. We look forward to having a productive non-sailing season (there is no off season!) and getting back on the water in the spring to build on the strong year that we’ve had so far.

Thank you to the Harding family for hosting us on Thursday night and again on Sunday night, allowing us to break up the ten hour drive into two segments. Also, thanks to those who travelled all the way to Charleston to support us! And, of course, thanks to Coach Jack for all the time that you have put into our team. We’ve come a long way and couldn’t have done it without you!

Until next time,
Maximilano “Mac” Agnese ‘16

2013 MAISA Club Champions

This weekend, Jack Swikart, Meg Harding, Mac Agnese, Joe Farned, Cary Kane and I returned to Toms River Yacht Club for a chance at the MAISA club championship.

We left school Friday afternoon and headed to the Swikarts’ house for some pizza and a good night’s sleep. We woke up early Saturday morning to freezing temperatures and piled on lots of layers just to make the journey from the front door to the car. After some quick stops for food, we arrived at Toms River Yacht Club to frozen puddles of water on the Opti covers and rigged up our 420. Jack and I started the day in A division with two solid races, and Joe and Cary followed suit with a consistent set. Our day continued with us battling Fordham for the top spot. Meg switched in with Jack for their last set of the day, and they kept the consistency going strong. After a full day of racing, Joe and Cary headed in as the sun was setting on Toms River (it couldn’t beat our Essington sunsets though). Joe headed back to Penn with Coach Jack, and the rest of us headed back to the Swikarts to shower and get dressed up for fancy dinner. After some delicious steak and veggies, we watched some Louis C.K. and headed to bed after Jack picked Mac up from the train. Sunday morning was a little warmer than Saturday and a lot windier. We headed back to toms river ready to tackle the mounting breeze. Jack and Meg started the day with two more solid races, and Mac and Cary followed up with two firsts as boats began to capsize in B division. The wind quickly picked up from a manageable 16 knots to gusting 30 and the decision was made to call the regatta. After a successful weekend, we stood 7 points ahead of Fordham, making us the 2013 MAISA club champions.

Thanks to the Swikarts for hosting (and feeding) us again! Full scores can be found here: http://scores.collegesailing.org/f13/maisa-club-championships/

-Catie Hopkins ’17

Penn finishes 6th at the War Memorial, Qualifies for ACC’s

This past weekend, November 2nd and 3rd, marked the beginning of the “postseason” for fall sailing, meaning that from here on, it’s only qualifiers and championships until the end. The first event on our itinerary was the War Memorial at Old Dominion University, located in Norfolk, Virginia. The regatta serves as the MAISA Fall Championship each year, as well as the qualifier for the Atlantic Coast Championship. This year, 8 teams from MAISA would qualify for a berth. A lot was on the line, but the team (composed of myself, Mac Agnese, Patricia Andrade, Catie Hopkins, Christina Atterbury and Foster Collins) was ready and up to the task.

The first day of the regatta brought drizzly conditions with a light-to-medium Northerly breeze. Pati and I sailed in A Division while Mac and Catie started off the day in B. It was the first time this season that we were able to go up against all of the top teams in MAISA at once, but we came out with guns blazing and were leading the championship after the first set! The strong showing continued throughout the day as Pati and I sailed 6 consistent races in A Division, while Mac and Catie managed four top-6 finishes before racing was called for the day due to a lack of wind. Our combined races were good for third overall at the end of Saturday, though the scores were incredibly close throughout the top 10.

After racing, the team enjoyed dinner at the No Frill Bar and Grill, one of Coach Jack’s favorite restaurants from his time as a student at ODU. The recommendation turned out to be well-founded, as the food was excellent and the portions generous. Once we got back to our hotel, we did a little studying before calling it a night.

Sunday’s dawned with very breezy conditions of 20+ mph, just as the forecast had predicted. Mac started off the day with Christina, while I started with Foster. After 1 set, the conditions began to deviate from the forecast (which had called for a building breeze all day), with the breeze dying to a much more manageable 10-15. With that change, Pati and Catie went back in as crews for the remainder of the event. Neither Mac nor I was able to replicate our magic from the previous day, though we still managed to sail very consistently and easily maintain our spot in the top 8. At the end of the day, we ended up in 6th place, which was Penn‘s best finish in the War Memorial since 2007. It was also good enough to earn us a berth in the Atlantic Coast Championship for the second time in three years.

I am very proud of the team at this point in the season and am really looking forward to the next two weeks. First we have MAISA Club Championships at Ocean County College (Toms River, NJ) and then of course ACC’s at College of Charleston. Stay tuned for updates each week as well as for our season-in-review once the season is wrapped up. See you on the water!

-Jack Swikart ’15
Captain, Penn Sailing