Year: 2015


Penn Sailing Team Concludes Historic Spring Season

Spring 2015 was a season of firsts for the Penn Sailing Team, starting all the way back in January. For the first time ever, the team traveled to Long Beach, California during winter break to compete in the Rose Bowl Regatta hosted by USC. This was a major step forward for the program because it gives the team visibility to high school sailors in the very competitive Pacific Coast League. Next, the team participated in the Charleston Intersectional in late February, marking the first time the team has taken a plane to a regular-season event. Throughout the spring, the Quakers competed in three team races, which is the most they have done in a single season since at least 2008. They also finished the season as a top-10 team racing team in the conference for the second straight year.

On the fleet racing side of things, the team had even greater success, notching its first top-5 finish in a major intersectional at the Admiral’s Cup in late April, which led to Sailing World ranking the team 19th in the country in their May 6th coaches’ poll. This is the best ranking for the Quakers in at least the last 5 years, though they hope to move up even more next year. At the America Trophy, which is the Mid-Atlantic Conference Championship, the Quakers finished a strong 8th place, earning them a spot in the ICSA Dinghy Nationals for the second year in a row. The team sailed hard at the Nationals, but ultimately fell short of their goal of qualifying for the finals, finishing 11th out of 18 in the extremely competitive Semi-Finals. However, their performance cements their position among the top 25 teams nationwide. Despite missing their goal, the sailors had a great time and learned a lot. The underclassmen in particular will hope to build on their championship experience next year while the seniors will always have fond memories of a great final season.

Lastly, while Penn Sailing managed to scale new heights at the team level, some of the team’s individual performers also stood out among their peers. Catie Hopkins ’17, who is the current team captain, was selected as Penn’s first-ever All-Conference Crew. She joins Mac Agnese ’17, who was selected as an All-Conference Skipper last year, on the All-America Committee’s “short list”. Might we see Penn’s first All-American sailor in the coming years? Only time will tell.

Senior Jack Swikart was also honored by the Mid-Atlantic Conference, receiving the Robert Purrington Award for Student Leadership for his work over the past two years as the team’s captain, as well as for contributions to the conference as its Undergraduate President. Jack was able to build on the foundations of the previous captains of Penn Sailing to form a strong and efficient team capable of competing with the best teams in college sailing, even on a meager budget. He also did commendable work as the MAISA President, instituting the conference’s first voluntary concussion training program as well as volunteering on various committees to represent the interests of the student athlete.

Going forward, Penn Sailing is very excited about the future. With the team’s success over the past two years, a number of very strong junior sailors have applied to Penn and the team’s prospects continue to look stronger every year. The Quakers will sail in a record number of regattas next year as a team, while maintaining a commitment to not overworking anyone at the individual level and prioritizing academics. This is only possible through both a strong commitment from the students, but also a similarly strong showing of support from our alumni. The team would like to thank those who contributed to our success over the last year, and hope to meet and learn more about our great alumni base in the future. See you on the water next fall!


Penn 8th at America Trophy, Going to Nationals!

For the second time this spring, the Penn Sailing Team piled itself into a vehicle to travel 5 hours south to Norfolk Virginia. However, this time was different – there was much more riding on the outcome of this weekend’s event, and we brought a much bigger team with us. The Quakers in the car included Jack Swikart, Drew Gallagher, Keen Butcher, Catie Hopkins, Patricia Andrade, Lucy Sergeant and coach Billy Martin, and they were headed to the America Trophy, the final test for the Mid-Atlantic conference and the qualifier for Nationals. This year, the top 9 teams would make it and get the opportunity to travel to Newport, RI for Coed Semifinals.

After an eventful ride down, the team got a good night’s rest before day 1 of the event. Catie and I started in A Division while Drew and Pati started in B. The breeze on Saturday was light-to-medium but reasonably steady (at least at first). Catie and I sailed to a 12, 9 while Drew did even better with a 6, 4; so after one set (2 races in each division) we were in good shape in 7th place. However, we knew we had to stay consistent because the series might not be more than 6-8 races total given the forecast for light air all weekend. While that is a strong point for our team, not having enough races can doom any squad, but we were ready. Catie and I went out and had our strongest set of the regatta with a 1, 2 before handing things back to Drew. Unfortunately a combination of being early at the start and untimely fouls caused Drew to suffer an 18, 11, but even with those finishes we were still in good shape. After all, at a conference championship everyone is bound to make mistakes. Catie and I took to the water again in a dying breeze to attempt more races, and despite making countless mistakes of our own managed to come up with a reasonably consistent 13, 8. Although the race committee sent B Division out for their next set, the wind simply would not cooperate, and forced us to end the day there. After 6 A races and 4 B races, we were uncomfortably in 9th place, a mere 4 points in front of 10th. After a good dinner we got back to the hotel and skipped the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight in order to get our rest.

Sunday came with conditions just like the forecast had called for – a dying breeze that made Saturday look like ideal conditions. Luckily they were able to quickly get off races 5B and 6B, in which Drew and Pati managed a consistent 6, 9 scoreline putting us in 8th with a 7 point cushion over Hobart, the 9th place team. Catie and I went out again in truly marginal conditions and had another great set – with our 9, 2 we were tied for 4th in A Division. However, these races and scores are to be lost to history, since the breeze shut off and did not fully return. While the RC attempted race 7B multiple times, there was never enough wind to finish it. Thus, the two A Division scores we got were thrown out, but on the bright side we had qualified for Nationals again!

At the awards, new captain Catie Hopkins was honored as an All-MAISA crew for the year and is the first Penn sailor to receive that honor. Mac Agnese was honored as an All-Conference skipper last year, but Catie is our first All-MAISA Crew. Congratulations Catie! Also at the awards, I was honored with the Robert H. Purrington Award for Student Leadership and Service. The award is given to the senior in MAISA who embodies both leadership and service both on their team and in the conference. It’s been a privilege to be the captain of the Penn team for two years as well as the undergraduate president of MAISA this past year, and it was nice to receive recognition from the conference leadership.

Now the team will dive into exams before beginning preparations for Nationals in June! The team hopes to improve on its performance last year at St. Mary’s by making the national finals. See you all in Newport!


Fair Winds,

Jack Swikart ‘15


Full scores from America Trophy can be found at:



Penn Sailing Takes 5th at Admiral’s Cup!

Friday afternoon marked a historic time for the Penn Sailing team, as we took the first ever “van selfie” en route to the Admiral’s Cup at King’s Point. Jack proudly proclaimed, “this is the first time in the age of camera phones that the team has had a van as transport to a regatta.” With this proud moment in mind, and Coach Billy at the wheel, we made the drive to Drew’s house.

Saturday morning we arrived at King’s Point to 12-15 knots, with Jack and me in A Division in the FJ, Pati and Drew in B Division in the 420, and Keen in C Division in the laser. The morning wind allowed us to each finish 4 solid races before heading in for lunch. After our lunch break, Catie subbed in as Jack’s crew, as the wind decreased to around 5-8 knots. Billy and the sailors not currently racing intently observed the racing from a motor boat. We also came up with a way to wager on the racing, in the form of pushups. Each race, each of us would choose a boat to bet on, and then have to do the number of pushups of the place the boat finished in. Later in the afternoon, the wind direction was extremely shifty, and dead at times, making it very difficult to finish races. Many races were abandoned in each fleet throughout the afternoon. By 4 o’clock and with a lack of any steady wind, we headed in to de-rig.

On Saturday night the entire team was treated to a homemade taco dinner courtesy of Mrs. Gallagher. After dinner, fitness was still on the team’s mind as we dealt out a deck of cards, with each person having to do pushups in the amount on the card. With hundreds of pushups under many of our belts, we headed to bed early to rest up for Sunday.

Sunday morning brought steady wind early on, and each fleet was able to get off a few solid races. By the time we took a break for lunch though, the wind became too light to race. After a few hours spent waiting to see if it would fill in, playing a little bit of football, and a lot of lounging, we were informed racing was over. Even with the many delays and lack of wind, this was a great weekend for the team. We finished fifth out of a strong fleet of 20! It was a fun regatta, and a great way to head into America’s trophy next weekend.

Thanks to the Gallaghers for hosting us again, and to Billy for driving our 12-passenger van!


Fair Winds,

Lucy Sergeant ’18


Results can be found here:


Penn Competes at Navy Spring

After a relaxing Fling Friday, Jack Swikart, Foster Collins, Max Joyce and I headed down to Annapolis, excited for the next few days of competitive racing. We headed to dinner in downtown Annapolis and then travelled the last few minutes to the Harding’s house, our home base for the weekend. After some ice cream (me) and video games (the boys), we headed to bed, excited for Naval Bagels in the morning.

Saturday was a spectacular spring day in Annapolis, with light breeze and temperatures reaching 80. Jack and I started in A Division in the Z420s and Max and Foster took on the B Division FJs. Jack and I came out of the gate strong, winning the first race (with a little luck involved). We managed to get through a few races in the light breeze before a lunch break, and after a brief onshore postponement, we went back out and got in a few more races before the breeze died again. After another postponement, we headed all the way out to the mouth of the river and managed to squeeze out a few more races. After a great dinner at the Naval Academy, and another great dinner at the Harding’s, we went to bed with an eye on the forecasted breeze for Sunday.

Sunday was significantly windier and colder than the day before, and the Race Committee wasted no time in getting our day started. The morning breeze was only 8-12 knots, but it picked up quite a bit throughout the day, leaving us to work hard to keep the boat flat. Foster and Max worked to get the hang of the Z420 in breeze, with much more of a side advantage than Saturday, while Jack and I worked hard to keep the FJ under control as the breeze built up to 15-20 knots by the end of the day. By the afternoon, we were all pretty tired as we got to the end of the 15 races. After squeaking out one more race right before the 3PM cutoff time, we headed back to shore and back to Penn, pleased with the way that we had sailed. The highlight of the regatta was Jack and I finishing 5th in A division at a major intersectional, our best individual finish this year!

Thanks to the Harding family for hosting us and feeding us this weekend! Always appreciated!

Catie Hopkins ’17


Results can be found here:


OCC Spring Open

On Friday night Caroline Garth, Joe Egan, Alexia Tragakes and I packed into Caroline’s car and set off for her delightful suburban New Jersey home. Fueled by a tasty carbonara carbo-load from the night before, the team arrived at Toms River Yacht Club on Saturday morning for the OCC Spring Open. As all 18 boats headed out for the first race, conditions were challenging with steady wind around 20 mph gusts up to 30. When 6 boats capsized in the first race of Division A, the race committee called a postponement to wait for the wind to die off. By 11:30 winds were steady at about 18 mph with puffs to 23 mph, and racing resumed.

After a long day on the water, both A and B divisions finished 9 races, which constituted a full rotation for the 9-team regatta. Since all the races were completed on Saturday, teams agreed to a one-day regatta and headed for home. Penn finished fourth overall. Given the heavy winds, we were at a significant weight disadvantage compared to some of our competitors, but we sailed some great races and enjoyed the spring sunshine. Results can be found here:

Thanks so much to Mr. and Mrs.Garth for hosting us and serving so much delicious food!

Audrey Harnagel ’16


Quakers Get Top 3 at Team Race Challenge

The MAISA Team Race Challenge last weekend was Penn’s third and final team race of the spring season, marking a significant improvement in performance over the previous two team race regattas. As the qualifier to the Prosser Trophy, the qualifier for Team Race Nationals, the stakes this weekend were higher, but we were ready to take the challenge. Senior Jack Swikart, freshmen Drew Gallagher and Joe Egan skippered, while senior Pati Andrade, junior Foster Collins, sophomores Catie Hopkins and Cary Kane, and freshman Max Joyce crewed.

Saturday was uneventful as 25-35 knot winds with gusts up to 40kts necessitated an immediate AP, which was eventually followed by the abandonment of racing for the day.

The start time for Sunday was moved up, and racing started at 0915. Wind was light and variable from the West/Northwest, but built as the day progressed to cap off at 15-25 knots. The first round robin was completed with an hour to spare before the 1500 deadline, the results of which saw Penn in second place. Despite the time constraint, the Race Committee attempted to sail an additional round robin for the final four, but was unable to complete even four races before the deadline. After a day of great racing, we were very pleased with our performance over the last few weeks.

Final results were taken from the original round robin, but unfortunately Penn and GWU met in the unfinished final four with GWU winning. This race counted for a sail-off and resulted in Penn falling to third place, and not qualifying for the Prosser berths. However, we all felt very accomplished with how well we’d sailed and how much we’d improved in the past few weeks.

We had another great weekend at my house, and thanks to Catie for driving her car all weekend so we could fit a full squad!

Drew Gallagher ’18


Freezing Cold at Admiral Moore Team Race

This past weekend, Penn Sailing participated in the Admiral Moore Team Race at NY Maritime. Catie Hopkins, Nina Kaledin, Carolyn Kearney, Jack Swikart, Keen Butcher, Drew Gallagher, and I drove to New York for our second team-racing event of the season. Despite what some would call frigid conditions (snow and sub-35 degree temperatures), the team showed great improvement and aptitude throughout the weekend.

Saturday morning began a little slowly. The team ventured to Village Square Bagels in Larchmont to find out that this renowned bagel shop did not in fact serve square bagels. Though slightly disappointed by this discovery, we headed towards SUNY Maritime, eager to start competing. We had the first flight off, which gave us time to dress adequately for the snowy weather. We began racing around 1000 and were out in the water until 1800. The wind blew at approximately 10-20kt from a northerly direction throughout the day. Jack, Keen, and Drew skippered all day, and as crews, Catie, Nina, Carolyn, and myself rotated between boats so we could try to stay a little bit warm. Saturday proved to be a very successful day for the team. By effectively implementing three-boat weaves and thanks to the team’s great enthusiasm and talent, we won three races in the first round robin.

On Sunday, the weather conditions improved greatly. The sun was out and Penn Sailing was ready to compete! The breeze started around 12kts, but it eventually died out around 1430, when the second round robin ended. Like in the first round robin, the team had three victories this round. Overall, we ended the regatta in sixth place. But most importantly, we left SUNY Maritime optimistic about our future in team racing as we head into qualifiers next weekend. Results can be found at:

Shout outs:

-To Keen Butcher, as this was his first encounter with team racing. His progress throughout the weekend was impressive

-To our Coach Billy Martin for saving us from hypothermia by letting us borrow his gloves, hats, and neck warmers, among others.

-To the Gallagher family for their hospitality, and to Mrs. Gallagher for her delicious chili.

Patricia Andrade ’15





Graham Hall Team Race

There are times when a team shows up perfectly prepared for an event, and everything goes according to plan. This weekend for the Penn Sailing Team was NOT one of those times. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t learn a lot and make it as positive an experience as possible. At the same time, last place doesn’t really give our spin-doctor headline writers a whole lot to work with.

For the start of the 2015 team race season, Jack Swikart, Drew Gallagher, Joe Egan, Cary Kane, Lucy Sergeant, and Caroline Garth all drove down to Annapolis for the Graham Hall Team Race, thought by many to be as tough as Team Race Nationals or tougher. The problem was, this group had only one day of practice as a team going into the event, and despite a decent amount of team race experience between them, had never team raced together before.

Needless to say, this was a recipe for pain. The Quakers did manage to knock off an extremely impressive Fordham team to get one win on the board over the course of two days, but despite many close and hard-fought races were unable to secure another. That’s not to say the team did not know what they were doing, but could be likened to some of Penn Basketball’s performances on the court this year – the right people often in the wrong place at the wrong time. Actually, scratch that. Even we weren’t THAT bad.

All kidding aside, the Graham Hall was clearly more than we bargained for, but at the same time it was an extremely valuable experience for us. First of all, it allowed us to see 15 other teams who function better in a team race environment than we do. We can take a lot of those lessons into our next two team races this season. Also, we were able to get some practice at Navy, which is always a good thing as well.

Thanks very much to our graduate advisor Skip Swikart (W’80) who helped us drive the team down as well as coach Billy Martin for sticking with us despite our embarrassing him completely by losing nearly every race.

Now the team gets ready for its final regular-season team race, the Admiral Moore at SUNY. The team hopes to sharpen its skills even more in order to be ready for the MAISA Team Race Challenge the following weekend at Kings Point.

As always, results can be found on Techscore:



Quakers 2nd at ODU Spring

This weekend, four Penn sailors headed south to kick off the regular spring season at the ODU Spring Open. Jack Swikart, Catie Hopkins, Keen Butcher, and Carolyn Kearney all took the first two days of their spring break to, using a phrase Keen invented, “shake off the cowboys” and get ready for the start of team race season. Coach Billy Martin also accompanied the group down to Norfolk.

The forecast for the first morning of racing was so cold that the race committee sent out a notice on Thursday announcing that the start time would be pushed back to 10am to give any remaining ice time to clear out. While we weren’t exactly excited about those temperature predictions, that’s the reason we have drysuits!

The breeze the first day was light, and the Penn sailors did well overall in the tricky conditions. Jack and Catie started off well in A Division, with two seconds and a first, but faced some challenges later in the day when the breeze really got shifty. They ended the day two points out of first in A. Keen and Carolyn found day 1 to be a great learning experience, this being only the second doublehanded regatta ever for our freshman Laser sailor. While they got off to a rough start, the duo bounded back by winning the third race and scoring top 10s to close out the day. After 6 races the team was in 4th overall, but only three points out of 2nd. Kings Point was very far ahead in first.

The second day had steadier breeze, so we knew we would get more races off than Saturday. The temperature also moderated significantly, which was nice – the Saturday cold was brutal. Jack and Catie were back to form on day 2, scoring all firsts and seconds to take first in A division. One hiccup came after race three when another boat accidentally punctured our sail with their mast (it was complicated and would need a drawing to explain), but the Race Committee granted us breakdown redress and had the boat back on the water with a new sail by the next race! In the other division, Keen and Carolyn showed improvement yet again, with no score worse than their average the previous day. With this 3-point-per-race improvement, the freshmen Quakers in B Division moved up to 5th place, boosting the team to second overall and passing St. Mary’s. While the team managed to narrow the gap separating them from first place Kings Point, it was just too much to make up in one day. Congrats to the Mariners on the win!

Everyone had fun and learned a lot at ODU – it’s a great event to start off the season. Thanks to the Monarchs for hosting the event and braving the cold. Stay tuned as the Quakers move into team race season in two weeks at the Graham Hall Team Race!

Full scores can be found at:



Penn Sailing Takes Flight, Finishes 6th at Charleston

Welcome back from the Penn Sailing Team!


Last weekend, we officially kicked off our spring season with a regatta hosted by the College of Charleston. On Friday night, Jack Swikart, Patricia Andrade-Chevres, Drew Gallagher, and I boarded a plane with four penguins painted on the tail and wing-tips to leave snowy Philadelphia on Penn’s first ever flight to an in-season regatta. Our itinerary had us fly into Charlotte, N.C., then drive to Charleston before finally arriving at our hotel around 1:00 a.m.

The next morning began a little slowly as we were all exhausted. However, after rushing to ready for the regatta, we gained a reprieve as the racing was postponed due to lack of wind. The team lounged outside, enjoying the comparatively warm weather, until a light South East wind filled at 1300. Jack and I were racing in FJ’s, while Pati and Drew tackled the 420. After only 4 races each, disrupted by 2 more offshore postponements, the racers were towed ashore slightly disappointed at the conditions, but having enjoyed a day of sailing and team bonding. After a delicious dinner at a trusted Outback Steakhouse, we retired to the cozy home of Brooks Carpenter, the son of Chip Carpenter, Penn C’78.

Sunday began with a bit of anxiety as our car’s battery had died over night. With the help of some wonderful neighbors and a set of cables, we were able to start our battery and get to Charleston in time for the harbor start. The conditions were a little better than Saturday, with a slightly stronger west wind that switched to southwest several times. As is typical at big intersectional, A and B fleet switched boats for the second day. Drew and Pati took on the FJ and finished 4th in the first race of the day, as Jack and I turned to the 420, finishing top 5 in each of the day’s 6 races. Around 1430, the wind shifted south and died, forcing race 11B to be abandoned (B fleet had already abandoned two other races earlier that day). Having finished 11A, the RC sent the A fleet to drift in as the B fleet attempted to begin another race with a hoped-for wind shift. This race was ultimately abandoned as well due to poor conditions and a dying breeze.

We performed well in our first weekend back on the water, ending the regatta in 6th overall, and just beating out Boston University on a tiebreaker for the top club team spot. We are incredibly grateful to Charleston’s understanding sailors and coaches who ensured that they towed us to shore in time for us to make our flight, as well as to Navy’s A sailors who helped us de-rig our boat. And of course, a huge thank you goes out to Mr. Carpenter, who helped us organize our stay with Brooks, and to Brooks himself, who welcomed us into his wonderful home. The team was very excited to be back on the water and looks forward to getting our own boats in the (currently icy) Delaware River soon!


Happy sailing!
Cary Anne Kane ‘17


Penn Sailing Competes in First-Ever Rose Bowl Regatta

For the first time ever, the Penn Sailing Team competed in the Rose Bowl Regatta over winter break. The Rose Bowl Regatta, much like it’s namesake college football game, takes place just after New Years in Los Angeles, CA. Four members of the team flew out to enjoy the weather, improve our skills, and increase our team’s visibility to the high-caliber west coast high school sailors.

The weather was sunny, warm, and a light southwest sea breeze filled in each day right around noon. There were occasional shifts, but the breeze was more about pressure than angle. 32 colleges competed in this event to make it the largest fleet I’ve raced against in college sailing.

Because of the size of the fleet (30 boats), there was a greater emphasis on starts, mark roundings, being conservative, and keeping a clear head. The favored end of the line usually had a significant pile-up and any given mark rounding could get messy, so keeping clear and sailing our own race was important. Starting a little off the favored end to get a clear start and getting a clear lane through the racecourse allowed us to get fairly consistent results. The size was also a bigger factor in bad races. In one race, Cary and I had to spin early so we rounded the windward mark third to last. We sailed our own race and kept ourselves clear which allowed us to catch ten boats and turn a very bad race into an okay race.

This was Carolyn’s second regatta as a crew and my first double-handed regatta in general, so the learning curve was steep. On Friday, Jack thoroughly went over the full process of tacking while Carolyn and I sailed and practiced the mechanics. Carolyn and I saw quick improvement after an hour of tacking drills. As the regatta progressed muscle memory started to kick in and by the end we were able to tack well somewhat consistently. My feel for the upwind boat speed steadily improved and Carolyn and I finished the regatta with our best set.

This was our first time to Rose Bowl as a team and the recruiting aspect was pretty unique. The college night was packed and Jack gave a good speech during his 90-second allotment to introduce us to high schoolers, but most of the recruiting was done on our own time through talking to parents, coaches, and sailors. We shelled out a ton of Penn Sailing Business cards and faced a lot of anticipated comments like “Is that Penn State?”, “is that the Ivy?”, and “wait who?”. We talked to sailors ranging from curious underclassmen to juniors and seniors who were considering applying or had already applied. Ultimately, we improved a lot and left a footprint in a region where we previously were pretty much unknown.

We had a great time and learned a lot, and we definitely hope to be back next year! Also, thank you very much to the Romm family for graciously hosting the team during our stay in California.


-Keen Butcher ’18