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