This past weekend the Penn Sailing Team competed at SUNY Maritime College in the War Memorial, which is also the MAISA Conference fleet racing championship for the fall as well as the qualifier for ACCs. After finishing 6th in last year’s War Memorial, the team was eager to improve on their performance.
The Quaker team, consisting of myself, Drew Gallagher, Catie Hopkins, Cary Kane, Patricia Andrade, Maxwell Ryder, and Foster Collins, were received warmly by the Gallagher family once again at their Larchmont home. We all got a great sleep in preparation for a big day of racing on Saturday.
The breeze was up and the temperature was down on Saturday morning when we arrived at the venue. Luckily, conditions were favorable for racing and the R.C. was able to get things started right away. We got off to a solid start in both A and B divisions and were looking very good for the early part of the event. The day was not without its mishaps, however. One of Cary’s and my races was abandoned due to a cargo ship going through the course when we were in second place – we finished 12th in the “do-over” race. Drew sailed consistently well all day, just as he had been working on doing all season. It was a great culmination of a semester’s work. Unfortunately, the day left us in a tie for 8th place, and a mere few points out of qualifying for ACCs.
Unfortunately for us, Sunday dawned with howling winds which forced the Race Committee to leave us postponed on shore for most of the day. Finally, the B Division was sent out to finish the set that A had started the day before. Drew sailed with Foster and they were definitely a force to be reckoned with in the intense breeze. Unfortunately, the two teams we needed to beat in order to clinch a berth in ACCs were just slightly better, just edging out Drew in the last race.
While the team was a little bit disappointed that they didn’t make their goal of qualifying for ACCs, we feel that we learned a lot from the event and from the season as a whole. We saw a lot of great promise from our freshmen and a great improvement from the rest of the team. The future looks bright for Penn Sailing as we move into preparations for our spring season. With a good body of work in the spring, I think we have a great chance to make it back to National Semifinals and perhaps the Dinghy finals as well.
Thanks very much to our coach Billy Martin for a great season on and off the water, and thanks to all the parents and alumni who graciously hosted us this season, especially the Gallaghers, whose proximity to the New York City venues (not to mention their fantastic hospitality) made them our “MVP Hosts” of the Fall 2014 season.
Jack Swikart ‘15