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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/odu-open/full-scores/