This weekend Penn competed in the Saint Mary’s Fall Intersectional, hosted at the sailing center in Saint Mary’s City, Maryland. 18 teams competed in Z420s and FJs over two days of fickle breeze. Jack Swikart (’15) and Catie Hopkins (’17) represented Penn in A Division, starting in FJs on Saturday, while Drew Gallagher (’18) and Patricia Andrade (’15) kicked off the weekend in the new Z420 fleet for B Division. The steep competition at this intersectional was a step up in difficulty from what Penn has faced so far this season.
Sailors arrived at the sailing center on Saturday morning to glassy water and a dismally light forecast. Nonetheless, the Race Committee was able to complete four races in puffy breeze (1-6 knots) from an unusual land direction, the scores from which reflected the wind’s unpredictability. After an onshore postponement around midday, the sea breeze began to fill, in which Penn sailed one of their best sets of the regatta, leaving them in 9th place at the conclusion of the day.
The forecast for Sunday was even less promising than the day before, and as expected, when sailors arrived on Sunday there was not a ripple to be found in the entire bay. An onshore postponement was not long in coming, and sailors changed gears to homework mode while they awaited a verdict. Luckily, the morning was hot enough to engender a sea breeze, which had completely filled by noon. Shifts were longer and less drastic than they were on Saturday and wind pressure was more or less consistent, which made for some close racing—one race in A Division saw the first twelve boats finish within seven seconds of each other. Despite the opposition, Jack came out of the gate in style, securing a bullet in the first race. Before the day was out, Penn competed in six intense races, over the course of which Drew’s scores slipped slightly from the previous day’s and Jack’s were improved.
This weekend was definitely a learning experience—and a relatively successful one; Penn finished 11th out of 18 teams, narrowly beating out GW and Eckerd with a few crucial passes on the very last leg of the regatta.
Next weekend we send a team to New York to compete in the Jesuit Open at Fordham and enjoy home field advantage for the Philly Fleet Race.
Drew Gallagher (18’)