• Riley Cup at Old Dominion

    Riley Cup at Old Dominion

    The Penn Sailing Team’s first official regatta of the season, the Riley Cup, at Old Dominion University in Virginia, was a great weekend both on and off the water. Penn sent a larger than normal group of sailors down to compete because we had births for both a coed and women’s team. After a six hour ride in the comfortable and stylish Penn Athletics van, stopping at the No. 1 Chinese Restaurant for dinner on the way, the team settled in for the night and prepared for a full day of racing the next morning.

    With fairly heavy winds ranging from 13-17 knots, both teams of sailors worked hard on the water, held their own, and came off the water sore and accomplished. As this weekend was my first time sailing FJs, I crewed half the time and skippered half the time, learning a lot from the experience with the help of tips from upperclassmen (shoutout to Raemie). The conditions were pretty similar continuing on to the second day, with heavy winds, enough to keep us moving fast and hiking continuously.

    This was a fun first regatta of the season and a great weekend for team bonding. Now that everyone is back into the racing mindset, the team is ready for a great season coming up.

    Lots of thanks to the Stanford and Turrietta families for hosting us this weekend!


    Jenna Weiner ‘21

  • 2017 All Academic Team

    2017 All Academic Team

    2017 ICSA All Academic Team

    Every year, the ICSA honors juniors or seniors who have participated in 7 or more regattas during the academic year and have maintained a GPA of 3.3 or higher. Penn Sailing has 4 upperclassmen on the all academic team for 2017:

    • Catie Hopkins, a senior, studying political science and classical studies
    • Keen Butcher, junior, studying mechanical engineering and applied mathematics
    • Caroline Garth, senior, studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and Hispanic studies
    • Carolyn Kearney, junior, studying, Material Science & Engineering, and Art History and Mathematics.

    Congratulations to these sailors for being dedicated team members while maintaining academic discipline!

  • Women’s 2016/17 Season Recap

    Women’s 2016/17 Season Recap


    The 2016/17 academic year was an exciting time for Penn Sailing, especially for the women’s team. Throughout the year, we competed in a variety of highly competitive women’s events, all culminating at the Sperry Women’s National Championship at College of Charleston.

    Fall MAISA Women’s championship was held at Old Dominion University in late October. Winds were so strong on Saturday that sailing was cancelled for the day. On Sunday, breeze still topped off at 17 knots, but RC was able to get off 6 races before the end of the day. Both Carolyn Kearney in A and Ava Esquier in B had great days, with many top 5 finishes. Penn won B division and finished 4th overall, qualifying the team to move on to Women’s ACCs.

    Women’s ACCs were held in Charleston, SC over the weekend of November 12-13. It was a challenging day of fairly heavy air. Penn finished 15th overall, finishing up an exciting fall season.

    Spring MAISA Women’s Championship was held at the US Naval Academy in late April. With Ava Esquier and Dana Hackett in A and Lenox Butcher and Laura Whelan in B, Penn Sailing pulled through with a strong group of freshman girls. After 15 races per division, Penn finished in 6th overall, with the top 9 qualifying for Women’s Nationals.

    2017 Women’s Nationals was held in Charleston, SC.  After graduation for the class of 2017, the women’s team began the drive down to Annapolis for a few days of practice with teams in the area. Women’s semifinals was filled with tough competition and stormy conditions. Storms cut short both days of racing, but the team kept a positive attitude and continued to sail to the best of their abilities. Penn narrowly missed qualifying for finals after a protest and finished 10th overall in the Western Semifinal.

    Overall, the 2016/17 academic year was an amazing season for our women’s team. We have a solid group of young sailors as well as some women’s sailing veterans. We can’t wait to see what fall 2017 will bring!


  • Penn Sailing Alum, Fan Favorite, and Graduate Advisor Inducted into Intercollegiate Sailing Association Hall of Fame

    Penn Sailing Alum, Fan Favorite, and Graduate Advisor Inducted into Intercollegiate Sailing Association Hall of Fame

    Penn Sailing is proud to announce that Edward “Skip” Swikart has been inducted into the sailing hall of fame

    The Outstanding Service by a Volunteer award honors an individual who has volunteered their time, talent and resources to advance the interests of college sailing at the club, team, conference or national level.

    In a nomination letter for Skip Swikart, Mike Callahan, MAISA Conference Commissioner, states:

    Over the years Skip has spent countless hours as the Alumni Advisor to his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania Sailing Team. Skip has spearheaded the efforts to raise funds for the club program and they recently completed a purchase for 18 new boats. Skip is also the primary recruiter of team members for a team that is building for the future. Skip is the adult presence for University of Pennsylvania Sailing Team and is the real driving force behind their success. Skip is not just a behind the scenes guy. He also helps run events for the team and is a mentor to all the Penn Sailors. His enthusiasm and dedication to University of Pennsylvania Sailing deserves recognition on the ICSA level.

    He’s attended many MAISA and ICSA meetings representing the interests of club teams like the University of Pennsylvania. Skip is a smart talented individual who is a great resource for MAISA as well as the University of Pennsylvania.

    “Back in 2004 my friend and mentor, Jack LeFort, asked me to take over the role of Graduate Advisor to the Penn Sailing team because his grandson, Bryce was going to be attending Penn,” says Swikart.

    “Since then it has been a real pleasure to work with some outstanding captains of this student run team and to help where I can with advice and logistical support,” he continued. “I’m humbled that the committee has considered me for this award, and I’m happy to share it with the student leaders who have worked so hard to bring Penn Sailing to a new level each year.”

  • Penn Sailing Places 16th at 2016 Co-ed Nationals, Trumps Previous Best Results in Recent Memory

    PST started its nationals adventure practicing with the Georgetown sailing team while staying at the Floyd residence which always proves to be an excited time. We then drove up to New Jersey to practice at Shrewsbury Yacht Club and stayed with the Swikarts. From New Jersey we went back to our homes for a few days to collect ourselves before taking the long flight out to San Diego. I made it to San Diego to see our team sail the last race of women’s semi finals. We then had a few rest days to acclimate to the time change and enjoy the beautiful weather. The team took advantage of our lay days to go hiking, see the beach, and eat some delicious In-n-Out.

    Tuesday, May 31st was the first day of our semi finals and after two days of competitive racing we edged out Dartmouth to qualify for the national championship for the first time in seven years. The next two days proved to be very difficult battling against the best teams in the country. We saw steady breeze the entire regatta ranging from 5-15 knots. Catie and I finished eighth in our division and the team finished a respectable 16th in the nation. This was a big accomplishment for Penn sailing and were excited for our next season. Big thanks to the Collins who hosted our entire team for almost two weeks and our Coach Billy who put up with our van ride antics.

    Yours truly, Nick Floyd

  • Penn Sailing Women’s Team places 16th at Women’s Semis, Qualifies for First Time Since 2011

    Penn Sailing Women’s Team places 16th at Women’s Semis, Qualifies for First Time Since 2011

    Having the opportunity to compete at Women’s National Semifinals in San Diego has definitely been a highlight of my Penn Sailing career so far. I think qualifying for semifinals for the first time in five years is a significant accomplish for us. We’ve really proved to ourselves as well as family, friends, and alumni that our women’s program is making huge strides, and with the incoming freshmen and returning upperclassmen next year, we have the potential to be even better and really move the program in the right direction. It’s a really exciting time for Penn’s women’s program, and I’m incredibly excited to be a part of it. To say I was intimidated on the first day of women’s semifinals would be an understatement. I was competing against the best teams in the country with the highest caliber sailors, but as a team, we demonstrated that we could hold our own against even the best varsity teams.

    Thinking back to my time in San Diego brings to mind a specific moment that proves just that. It was the ninth race of the Eastern Semifinal. I was skippering for B Division with Sarah Punzel as my crew. The wind had picked up significantly, but it was perfect conditions for Sarah and me. We got off the line with a clear lane and clean air. After a hard fought battle around the course complete with full out hiking and getting completely drenched by the splashes of the salty Pacific, we finished the race in fourth place out of eighteen boats ahead of top teams, such as the University of Rhode Island who went on to eventually win the Eastern Semifinal and compete in the National Championship. As soon as we crossed the finish line, Sarah and I looked at each other, smiled, and high-fived. It was a moment that I’ll never forget, and that feeling I got when we finished that race will be my motivation for my next three years as a member of the University of Pennsylvania Sailing Team. I can’t wait to see where this team will go.

    Raemie Ladner,

  • Penn Sailing Team Concludes Historic Spring Season

    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!

    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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/america/full-scores/


  • Penn Sailing Takes 5th at Admiral’s Cup!

    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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/admiral-cup/

  • Penn Competes at Navy Spring

    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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/navy-spring/