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