The University of Pennsylvania Sailing team is excited to finally announce their new full-time head coach, Isaac Clark! Continue reading “New Head Coach: Isaac Clark”
This past weekend the Women’s team headed south to St. Mary’s Honors College of Maryland Continue reading “Regatta Report: SMC Women’s Interconference”
The Quakers drove south to the Naval Academy to one of the most competitive team races of the season Continue reading “Regatta Report: Graham Hall Team Race (USNA)”
For one of the team’s final regular season fall regattas, seven of us traveled to Annapolis Continue reading “Truxtun Umsted at the US Naval Academy”
Laser Qualifiers, St. Mary’s Interconference, and Central Fall Qualifier
This past weekend almost all members of Penn Sailing were scattered throughout the midatlantic Continue reading “Weekend Recap: 9/29”
For the second week of Penn Sailing’s Fall 2017 season, the team trekked up to King’s Point, NY Continue reading “Nevin’s Trophy 2017”
The Penn Sailing Team’s first official regatta of the season, the Riley Cup Continue reading “Riley Cup at Old Dominion”
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
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!
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.”
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
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.
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!
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!
Jack Swikart ‘15
Full scores from America Trophy can be found at: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/america/full-scores/
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!
Lucy Sergeant ’18
Results can be found here: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/admiral-cup/
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/
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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/occ-spring-open/
Thanks so much to Mr. and Mrs.Garth for hosting us and serving so much delicious food!
Audrey Harnagel ’16
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
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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/admiral-moore-team-race/
-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
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: http://scores.collegesailing.org/s15/graham-hall-team-race/
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/
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!
Cary Anne Kane ‘17
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
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
This weekend, Drew Gallagher, Foster Collins, Jack Swikart and I ventured into NEISA for the first time this season for the Hoyt Trophy at Brown. We knew we would be in for a tough weekend based on the forecast and the teams who were attending, but we were excited as we headed north.
Saturday brought light and shifty breeze as A division shipped out in Brown’s new Z420s, leading to the first A race getting abandoned a little more halfway through, but as the day went on the breeze picked up but stayed shifty. Jack and I put in a few solid sets in the light conditions in A Division, and Drew and Foster put up a fight in B Division. A Division got off 6 races, in which Jack and I had some ups and downs while B Division only made it through 4 races before sunset was looming. We ended with an A set, a good dinner, and early bedtime.
Sunday’s conditions proved much more exciting than Saturday’s with big breeze cycling up and down throughout the day. The day started with a B set where Drew and Foster got the hang of the Z420 in the heavier air. While the big breeze was more suited for Drew and Foster, Jack and I worked hard and tried our best to hold the boat down in the big puffs that started cranking down the course at the end of the afternoon. We sailed two sets in A Division and three in B, finishing with ten competitive races in each division In a tough fight with imperfect pairings, we all made it through the day while focusing on learning the right lessons.
The team is headed to the War Memorial Regatta next weekend in hopes of qualifying for ACCs. We definitely came out of this weekend feeling tired, but we’re ready to work hard for the next week and get excited for the final stretch of our season!
Catie Hopkins ‘17
(photo credit Rob Migliaccio)
This weekend the Penn Sailing Team, composed of Jack Swikart, Drew Gallagher, Keen Butcher, Caroline Garth, Catie Hopkins, Patricia Andrade, and Cary Kane, ventured to Annapolis, MD for one of the most competitive intersectional regattas of the year – Navy Fall. The Navy Fall is a 4-division event sailed in FJs, Z420s, Lasers, and Laser Radials, and it attracts the best college sailing teams from around the country. For the first time since 2011, Penn was able to field a team deep enough to compete in this challenging event.
The first day started off with perfect conditions – 10-15 knots out of the Northwest blowing straight down the Severn River. The sun was shining and everyone was excited to compete. Jack and Catie started the event in the A-Division Z420s, while Drew and Pati started in the FJs for B Division. Keen took the helm for C Division Lasers while Caroline held down the D Division Radials. The Midshipmen of Navy ran off 8 races in each division on the day. The team had some ups and downs the first day but ultimately struggled in the challenging shifty conditions. The teams at the regatta were all ranked in the national top 25, so we were happy to have taken lessons away from the day and mixed it up with these elite college teams.
Sunday came with much more breeze than Saturday, but the race committee was not deterred. They were able to complete 6 more races in each division for a total of 14. The team sailed much better on Sunday than Saturday, with over 10 top-10 scores including a bullet from Drew and Catie in the last race of B Division. We finished the event in 18th place out of 20 teams, and while it was tough to hang with the country’s top teams, we felt we learned a lot over the course of the weekend that will help us later in the season.
Thanks to the Navy Midshipmen for running such a great event and to the Harding family for hosting us once again! The team hopes to take their lessons into the home stretch of the season, including the extremely competitive Hoyt Trophy at Brown and the MAISA Fleet Race Championship: the War Memorial.
Jack Swikart ’15
It has been an exciting fall season for Keen Butcher ’18, who has sailed in a singlehanded boat for Penn nearly every one of the last 5 weekends. After just missing out on qualifying for the Carl Van Duyne on his first weekend at KP’s Laser North regatta, Keen was able to power through and make it into the championship via the “second chance” qualifier hosted by Navy two weeks later.
Going up against the top singlehanded sailors in MAISA is no easy task – most who follow college sailing closely agree that MAISA is the toughest district in the nation for singlehanded sailing. Keen would be competing for one of four coveted Nationals berths against multiple sailors who were named All-MAISA last year, not to mention last year’s national champ from Georgetown, Greg Martinez.
So on Penn’s Fall Break weekend, Keen went back to the Naval Academy once again to test his skills against the best Laser sailors in MAISA. The first day was cold and wet, while the second was cold but sunnier. The breeze was not too strong, but was enough for the Midshipmen to run the full rotation of 14 races. After all was said and done, Keen finished 12th out of the 18 boat fleet – a solid performance for the freshman from Houston, TX.
While Keen’s Laser season is over, he hopes to sail some more doublehanded events in the fall and looks to return to the Van Duyne next year to try again for a shot at Singlehanded Nationals.
Scores can be found at: scores.collegesailing.org/f14/carl-van-duyne-maisa-men-singles
This week, the team headed to Fordham University to compete in the Jesuit Open Intersectional. Jack Swikart, Drew Gallagher, Lucy Sergeant, Pati Andrade, and I arrived at the wonderful Gallagher family’s beautiful home and headed to bed early in preparation for what promised to be a windy day.
Saturday morning dawned not just windy, but cold and rainy. Our coach, Billy Martin, met us at the Morris Yacht and Beach Club on City Island, NY and we all geared up together. Jack and I braved the freezing Long Island Sound to launch the boat from the beach. However, “boat” is a generous term for our vessel as water shot up through the centerboard trunk as we sailed. After struggling through a slow, water-logged set Jack and I returned to the dock and filed for redress (which was later granted). Meanwhile, Drew and Pati headed out as the wind built and sailed incredibly well, landing 3rd place. Unfortunately, the wind had continued to build and the race committee had to cancel the day after just one B race as almost half the fleet was in distress. Disappointed, the team returned to the Gallagher’s and settled into a relaxing afternoon including a trip to see Guardians of the Galaxy at the local theater and some much needed homework time accompanied by our favorite song “Say Something” on the piano.
By Sunday the rain had stopped and the wind had dropped to 15-18. Drew and Pati suffered through the wet launch and began with one race to finish their set from Saturday. Jack and I followed with two 3rd place finishes in our first set of the day. By this time the wind was dying slowly. Drew and Pati returned to the water before Jack and Lucy went back out for what would be their final set of the day (and Lucy’s first races as a college sailor!). Drew and Pati finished the day strong with a 4th and a 1st place finish. After a desperate (an unsuccessful) attempt to get a final half set off, the race committee gave up and sent the sailors in. After sampling “the best cheesecake” in all of New York, the team pilled back into the car and headed back to campus.
The weekend was incredibly fun, and though the team was disappointed not to get all the time on the water we would have liked, we enjoyed being able to relax a bit together as well. A huge thank you goes out to the Gallagher family for their incredibly kind hospitality. We would also like to thank Mrs. Swikart and Kate for coming out to support us despite the weather, and as always we would like to thank Billy for his helpful coaching advice all weekend!
For more details of our results, please click here: http://scores.collegesailing.org/f14/jesuit-open/
Cary Anne Kane, ’17
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’)
This past weekend, Jack Swikart, Patricia Andrade, Cary Kane, Drew Gallagher, Keen Butcher and I traveled to Kings Point for our first big intersectional regatta of the season. Because the Nevins Trophy is a three division regatta, we were sailing all 3 of Kings Point’s fleets at the same time. While Jack and I started out in A Division FJs, Drew and Pati sailed the 420s in B Division, and Keen took charge of the C Division Lasers. The breeze was solid right off the bat, but cycling all morning, and Jack made the switch to Cary after the first race, only to switch me back in after another three races. Drew and Pati posted some solid races in the medium breeze, including a bullet right before the lunch break, and Keen was consistent all day. After lunch the breeze picked up considerably, leading to a tough afternoon for everyone, especially without our heavier crews for the big breeze. After fighting through gusts of about 20 for most of the afternoon races, we finished the day in 11th place overall. After a great diner dinner, we headed to bed ready for the next day.
Sunday morning we awoke to humidity and no breeze, conditions that didn’t change once we got to King’s Point. After a bit of a wind delay on shore, we finally got out with the hopes of starting the first race around 11:00, but we floated around for another 45 minutes before the A division sequence started (in which time I learned how to sail a Laser and Keen learned how to crew). The bit of breeze held just long enough for each division to get one more race off. We all posted pretty solid midfleet finishes before the fleet started sailing back towards the docks. We officially went into onshore postponement shortly thereafter, and then to the end of the regatta about an hour later- a typical Kings Point Sunday. We ended the weekend in 11th place out of 20 very competitive teams – a great start for our season. On the whole, we had a great weekend and showed a lot of promise for the coming season, definitely learning a lot about what work we have ahead of us for this fall.
Many thanks to the Gallagher family for hosting us this weekend!
Catie Hopkins ’17
Click here for the scores: http://scores.collegesailing.org/f14/nevins/
For the first time in many years (maybe ever, we’re actually not sure), Penn did not need to send its top two skippers to the MAISA Central Fall Qualifier. This is a testament to the depth of the Quaker squad and a sign of the program getting closer to the level of programs such as Navy and Georgetown, which also enjoy the luxury of being able to send their top teams to intersectionals instead of their fall qualifier.
Skippers Joe Farned and Caroline Garth made the trip down to Washington College (known as WAC) for the qualifier, along with crews Carolyn Kearney, Meaghan Harding, and Audrey Harnagel. While the conditions were light, fluky, and unpredictable, the Quakers put on a great performance by finishing 4th, behind host Washington College, MAISA Central powerhouse Navy, and visiting MAISA South team St. Mary’s. This qualified Penn for their conference championship, the War Memorial, along with WAC, Navy, and Villanova, who earned the 4th Central berth to the event.
Thank you very much to the Harding family for hosting the team for the weekend!
Scores can be found at: scores.collegesailing.org/f14/central-fall-qualifier
This weekend Penn competed in the Cornell Fall Open hosted at the sailing center on Cayuga Lake, just north of Ithaca New York. With a fleet of 18 420s we were in a rotations all weekend with A Division sailed by Drew Gallagher (C’18) and B Division skipper Carolyn Kearney (C’18) starting with Jack Swikart (C’15) relieving her. The crews for the weekend were Foster Collins (C’16) and Cary Kane (C’17). The regatta offered a choice opportunity for the new recruits (Drew and Carolyn) to get used to sailing at the college level in a low pressure environment, in preparation for the coming season.
Saturday started as a cold and rainy morning with temperatures in the low 50s and light shifty conditions. Drew and Cary started in A, with Carolyn and Foster in B. Results were solidly in the top 10 for the day even though the conditions were tough. The lake provided a challenging venue because of the localized shifts and puffs that allowed a select few boats to sail away with the race. After the second set, Jack, who had thus far been the acting coach for this regatta stepped in to B to get some practice in 420s with Cary (who was switched from A) to get some practice together ahead of Sunday’s dismal forecast. By the beginning of the A set, the breeze had shifted by about 180 degrees and increased to over 20 kts, which worked in favor of the A crew switch, with Drew and Foster hiking their way to a well-earned 2nd in the first race. Unfortunately racing was called for the evening after only a single A race.
Sunday morning started after Jack’s gleeful trip through Tim Hortons (a Canadian donut chain with clearly superior donut holes). In contrast to the day before, Sunday’s weather was beautiful with skies clearing around noon. Luckily the forecast was not as bad as first thought, and we were able to get 6 rotations with only a few light air races. The day went well for A with the heavy pair of Drew and Foster finishing with top tens, all the while learning the dos and don’ts of college sailing. Carolyn and Cary had a great first set in B coming out of the gate with a bullet in their first race of the day. Jack switched in to B Division again to give Carolyn some much-needed rest, and ran away with the last 4 races with bullets across the last two sets.
Next weekend is all hands of deck as we send out two full squads to Nevins Trophy and Central Fall Qualifiers!
Foster Collins ’16
After reviewing multiple candidates, Penn Sailing is happy to announce that Billy Martin will be the team’s newest head coach.
Last spring, the team hired Johnny Norfleet, formerly an assistant coach at Hobart William Smith Colleges and had great success with him as the head coach. All the sailors felt that they learned a lot from Johnny, who brought a unique style of coaching to the mix. However, Johnny was offered the opportunity to pursue his professional ambition of studying for an MBA at Fordham University, which he accepted. He is now the head coach there, replacing Reed Johnson who needed more time to run his business on Long Beach Island. (ed. note: Pearl Street Market, it’s awesome)
After meeting with Billy over the summer, we knew he was the perfect fit for our program, and hopefully the long-term coaching solution we’ve been looking for. Billy had an extremely successful college sailing career at Boston University, where he graduated in 2010. He competed in multiple national championships as a starting skipper in both singlehanded and doublehanded boats, and was awarded the NEISA Sportsmanship Award, one of college sailing’s highest honors. Billy has spent the last few years working and coaching in Boston, but is now moving back to the Philadelphia area. This represents a homecoming for Billy since he is originally from the area, having learned to sail at the Riverton Yacht Club.
“We’re extremely excited to have Billy on board.” remarked senior captain Jack Swikart, “Because he sailed on and worked with a club team at BU in the past, we know that he will be able to quickly learn the ins and outs of our team and help us find new success on the water.”
What an exhilarating way to end the season – to be where the action is, sailing against the country’s top teams for a coveted spot in the 18-team ICSA Co-Ed Nationals fleet! Such was the situation we found ourselves in at the start of our summer as we competed in the Eastern Bracket of the Semi-Finals at St. Mary’s College of MD on June 3-4.
Instead of our normal routine of leaving campus on a Friday evening, we found ourselves piling into the old minivan at 39th and Spruce on a Monday just after noon. The six of us, including Mac Agnese, Catie Hopkins, Cary Kane, Nina Kaledin, Joe Farned, and myself, crammed ourselves and all of our gear into the van for what we hoped would be a four-day excursion. Unlike any other college regatta, or any other national championship prior to this year, all 36 semi-final teams would be at the national finals. However, only 18 would earn the right to sail in the championship. Think of it like making the cut in a major golf tournament, or winning a first-round game at the NCAA tournament (if only Penn could do that….). The format for the semi-finals was, like the past six years, two fleets of 18 boats determined by seeding. The top 9 from each side, “East” and “West” would advance to the final fleet. We qualified for the semis by placing an all-time best 5th in our spring conference championship, but now it was time to prove we belonged in the finals.
The first day of the regatta dawned with light but steady breeze and generally perfect conditions for racing. It was the first time since beginner Optis that I felt pre-race nerves as Cary and I sailed to the starting line. It didn’t take long for those to dissipate after we nailed our first start, winning the pin and sailing to a 4th place finish! We placed 10th the next race giving us a solid position to work with. Mac and Catie sailed next, earning two mid-fleet finishes in B Division to put us in 10th place, only 2 points out of the coveted 9th qualifying spot. Unfortunately the breeze did not cooperate for the rest of the day, forcing the race committee to send us home with only two races in the books and a relatively bleak wind forecast for the following day.
But Wednesday arrived with a solid breeze around 5-8 knots, allowing both A and B Divisions to get in two more races before the wind shut off. Mac and I both sailed consistently by getting 7, 10 and 8, 9 respectively. However, we were still two points out of qualifying after 4 races in each division, so we prayed to the wind gods to deliver a sea breeze sometime before the 5:00 cutoff time for racing. They delivered, bringing in a light southerly across historic Church Point around 3:00. The officials scrambled to set a course and get in additional races.
At this point, it was a dogfight for the last spot between us, Wisconsin, Michigan, and UC Santa Barbara. Knowing we would only get two more races each, both Mac and I kept close tabs on those teams off the line. After one more A Division race, we were just inside of qualifying, edging out Wisco by one point. But from there things started to get messy, and our relative inexperience in national competition began to show. We couldn’t quite get it done in either division, losing out to both Wisco and UCSB giving us an 11th place finish.
It was a little disappointing to have to go home early. But having taken a step back to look at just how far we’ve come this year, I can only conclude that our finish at Semi-Finals is simply the next step on our journey to becoming one of the top programs in the nation. Far from being discouraged, we are excited to get back on the water come August!
Jack Swikart ’15
The past two weeks have been some of the most fun I’ve had during my three years of college sailing. Due to the vast difference in final exam dates across the many schools competing in post-season sailing, few, if any, regattas are scheduled from early May through the start of the national championships. This leaves teams whose seasons are not yet over with the task of planning practices in order to keep them sharp during their time off.
For Penn’s first post-season venture in 5 years, the team wanted to practice with some of the premier teams in the country. Thanks to the many connections of our coach Johnny Norfleet, we were invited to practice with some of the best teams in New England over the course of two weeks. Our first trip would take us to Yale from May 20-24, and the second practice would be at Coast Guard from May 27-30.
Exactly a week after final exams ended at Penn, the team reconvened in Philly to drive to Connecticut. A group composed of Mac Agnese, Catie Hopkins, Joe Farned, Patricia Andrade, Cary Kane and I began our long drive up to the New Haven area around 5:00. Nina Kaledin met us at our host house after driving from her own home in upstate New York. We were graciously offered housing at the residences of two Penn Sailing alumni in Essex, CT – Linda Grossman (’91) and George Graf (’55) – where we stayed for the duration of our time in Connecticut.
Our first day at Yale brought very light breeze and balmy temperatures. All 36 of Yale’s boats (18 FJs and 18 Z420s – just like St. Mary’s) were filled on the first day by a number of different teams from across New England. Top programs like Harvard, Tufts, Brown, and Conn College were there, giving the practice the same sort of feeling as a full-on intersectional regatta. The breeze filled in more consistently in the afternoon, allowing us to get some high-caliber practice races in the new Z420s we would be sailing at Nationals.
The second day brought much colder temperatures and intermittent showers, as well as steadier breeze. Most of the teams from the previous day stuck around, so all boats were once again filled. We got more solid practice in the Z420s, learning some of the boat’s ins and outs while practicing against some of the best sailors in the country. After sailing, the Grafs treated the team to a delicious dinner at a great local pizza place.
Our third and final day at Yale came with perfect conditions, though fewer teams were present. The different teams decided collectively to practice in FJs, rounding out a full fleet of 18 for the day. We ran a lot of starts and different boatspeed drills that took us way out into the Long Island Sound. Exhausted, the team returned to Essex where Linda and her husband Craig cooked the team pizzas on their grill cookout-style.
Our final day of practice took us to the US Coast Guard Academy for a “regatta” against their team and some local sailors. The conditions were once again perfect for sailing, albeit slightly chilly, allowing for three races before a lunch break when the breeze died. After lunch we sailed more practice-like races to keep the practice productive and fun (partial courses, crew races, etc.). Unofficially, at least three Penn boats were in the top 5, but at the end of the day, we were all more than satisfied with the practice we were able to get in. Afterwards, we all headed back to Philly for a couple days rest before Round 2.
Thank you so much to the families of George Graf and Linda Grossman for opening their homes to the team for the week and being such fantastic hosts. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for supporting us on our road to nationals.
Check back for our week 2 report, and other Nationals-related news!
Jack Swikart ’15
Penn’s best-ever finish in a Spring MAISA Championship qualifies them for ICSA Nationals
What a weekend for the Penn Sailing Team – what a year, in fact. As I write this, I think back on the past year and how far the team has come in such a short time. Sorely missing our strong senior leadership from last year, it was a hard road for us to travel to get to this point. But we’ve finally made it, everyone; here’s how it happened.
This past weekend I traveled with Mac Agnese, Patricia Andrade, Catie Hopkins, Meaghan Harding, and Joe Farned to Kings Point for the second weekend in a row. This time, it wasn’t for a competitive 3-division intersectional, but for our conference championship, which is the qualifier for the first round of the ICSA National Championship. It was no longer time for practice and focusing on improvement, but time for performance. Each and every team was bringing their A-game to perhaps the most competitive America Trophy in the history of MAISA. The top 8 teams would earn a spot to the Co-ed Semifinals; the remaining 10 would end their competitive seasons there.
We drove up to New York City on Friday evening and ate at a delicious Long Island diner before heading off to bed for a good night’s rest at the hotel. Saturday dawned rainy and chilly, but the sun was beginning to come out by the time we hit the water around 10:00. Pati and I held down A-Division while Mac and Catie took on B-Division. The first few races for both fleets were light and shifty, which led to some up-and-down races for many teams. Pati and I heeded the words of our coach Johnny Norfleet and tried to minimize mistakes which led to us sailing 4 consistent races in the morning before lunch. Meanwhile, Mac and Catie jumped out of the gate in B-Division with a 2, 5 to start the day. The race committee managed to get two more B-Division races in while A-Division ate lunch on shore, in which Mac and Catie sailed another great set of 7, 2. Then the fleets switched and Pati and I were able to sail two more consistent A-Division races before the wind completely shut off and we waited on the water for the breeze to fill. We experienced a variety of weather conditions including heat, cold, sun, rain, and even a rainbow, but consistent breeze was not among them. Around 5:30 the race committee gave up and sent the fleets in for the day. After six A-Division races and four B-Division races, we were sitting in 6th place, just ten points out of third. Saturday was also Mac’s birthday. His mom, who came all the way from Florida just to see us, generously offered to treat us to dinner on Saturday night – thanks again Mrs. Agnese!
Sunday brought much stronger breeze and abundant sunshine, with winds varying from 10 to 18 knots. The race committee decided that there would be lunch on the water so as to minimize downtime and allow B-Division to make up their two race deficit. Both Mac and I came out of the gate strong and moved up to third at one point during the day. The conditions were extremely challenging: the breeze was strong but very shifty, and the waves often came from multiple directions at once due to the strong and unpredictable current for which Kings Point is infamous. This made for thrilling but difficult competition in both divisions. Around race 12, Pati switched in with Mac due to increasing breeze strength while I took Meg to sail the 420. After 10 challenging races in A-Division and a whopping 12 B-Division races on Sunday, the 4:00 time limit expired and the regatta was finished with 16 races in each division.
After all was said and done, the team placed an extremely impressive 5th overall, bolstered by Mac’s tremendous performance in B-Division in which he tied for 1st! We couldn’t be happier with our result, not only because we know that we gave it our best and performed well, but also because we punched our ticket to Nationals for the first time in over 5 years! The Quakers are back!
At the awards ceremony afterwards, the MAISA All-Conference Awards were presented. Mac was named to the Second Team All-MAISA for Co-ed, and was one of only ten co-ed skippers to be named All-Conference this year. Congrats to Mac!
At such a critical point in the season, there are so many people that I want to thank. I won’t do them all here (you’ll have to wait for our newsletter!), but first I do want to take the opportunity to thank our coach Johnny Norfleet for doing such a great job with the team this season and helping us get to the next level. I also want to thank all of the parents and friends of Penn Sailing who helped us along the way this past year –especially the Swikart Family, the Harding Family, and the Landy Family, who graciously housed the team on multiple occasions this year.
And of course, I want to thank all of the members of the Penn Sailing Team. From long rides in the old minivan, to no-breeze practice days on the Delaware, to always making time for team meetings, you all deserve tons of credit for this accomplishment. You’ve made your captain so proud.
Make sure to follow the team as we head for Nationals next month! We’ll be periodically posting updates to our Facebook page, as well as updating here during the regatta. The first round of the 2014 ICSA Nationals at St. Mary’s College of Maryland starts on June 3rd. See you all then!
Jack Swikart ‘15
Captain, Penn Sailing Team
Full scores from the regatta can be found on Techscore (click here for link)
Photo Credit to Larry Kennedy
Over this past weekend, April 19-20th, Penn Sailing competed in the Admiral’s Cup intersectional hosted by Kings Point in Great Neck, NY. With teams from MAISA, NEISA, and MCSA in attendance, Penn fought to a 14th place finish out of 20 teams.
In A Division, Jack Swikart ‘15 and Helen Boone ‘16 represented Penn. Mac Agnese ‘16 and Catie Hopkins ’17 sailed B division. In C division, Joe Farned ’17 sailed the Laser Full Rig.
On Saturday, we saw light winds building to about 15 knots. In all three divisions, the team posted mixed results, with more difficult races interspersed throughout top 5 finishes. Throughout the day, the start proved crucial, as strong current and a short trapezoid course heavily favored the leaders off the line. After a lunch break, the wind died and the race committee ultimately called racing around 5pm.
On Sunday, we were greeted by more consistent breeze. With this breeze, we were able to round out a 14 race regatta by 1:30pm. The competition on Sunday proved equally stiff. The line was heavily pin favored; the winner of the race was consistently the boat able to win the pin and tack off the line with clear air. With these challenging conditions, Penn was still able to post some strong finishes and concluded the regatta in 14th place.
Next weekend, Penn will be taking the America Trophy in its bid to qualify for Nationals.
A huge thank you goes to the Swikart family for housing us and feeding us a wonderful Easter dinner! Also, thank you to our coach Johnny Norfleet who helped us perform our best throughout the weekend.
Joe Farned ’17
Penn fields first Women’s Team in over 2 years
This weekend Meaghan Harding, Caroline Garth, Patricia Andrade Chevres and I headed up to the North Country to compete and MAISA Women’s Championship at Cornell. MAISA Women’s Championship serves as a qualifier for Women’s Nationals. Our weekend of ‘dreams coming true’ did not quite reflect in our scores, but Penn women’s sailing had an incredible weekend in terms of learning and development. Caroline Garth skippered the A division with me as her crew, and the multi-talented Meg Harding skipped B with Pati Andrade Chevres as her crew.
On Saturday morning, we arrived at Lake Cayuga and started racing around 9:45AM. The wind, roughly breezing at 12 knots, was solidly coming in from the North West. Although the air was cold and the water was colder, there were no delays in the competition and in total 10A and 10B races were held. On Saturday night the gals ate a lovely dinner in Cortland, New York, then returned to the hotel to rest up and prepare for tomorrow.
Easter morning we returned to Lake Cayuga and found an egg hidden underneath our boat (a gift from the easter bunny, perhaps). We sailed two more sets in a light, shifty and unpredictable wind coming from the South. A few races were restarted and the sets were long, but after finishing the day at 4PM the Quaker Ladies were both proud and pleased with the progress they made. In Caroline’s best race she came in 7th and Meg’s best race she also came in 7th.
Thank you to the Cornell Sailing team as well as the racing committee for hosting and managing the event.
Nina Smeallie Kaledin ‘16
Last weekend four recreational members of the team, Matthias Chia, Cruz Vargas, Steven Ho, & Audrey Harnagel headed down to Newark to compete in the Delaware Spring Open. This was Audrey’s first regatta, Steven’s first regatta as a skipper, and Cruz’s second regatta. The sea-hardened and experienced sensei Matthias had much to teach us.
For most of the team, this was our first time in Newark, DE. We decided to explore Main Street to try out some of the local cuisine and ended up eating dinner at both California Tortilla (2.5/5 stars) and a place that specialized in macaroni and cheese dishes (3.25/5 stars).
We arrived at the course a few minutes after 9 on Saturday morning with a little bit of rest and quite a bit of eagerness to sail; the weather was perfect. Races started around 10:15, with a solid westerly wind of about 8 knots. Right before lunch the wind shifted to coming out of the northeast, so the course was changed accordingly. The wind almost completely died a few times during the day, though only briefly. For most of the day the wind fluctuated between 5 and 13 knots.
Matthias and Cruz sailed hard, and steadily improved throughout the day. When the wind shifted towards the middle of the day, the course was changed from a W4 to a W3. Unfortunately Matthias and Cruz missed this announcement and shot outside of the finish line towards the windward mark when they should have been finishing with second place. Despite the quick turn around and (re)finish, they still managed to not get last that race. Two of the last three races were first place finishes for Matthias and Cruz, and they ended up tying for third place in the A division, even with the midday misunderstanding.
Steven and Audrey sailed competitively in their division, and had several finishes above the middle of the pack. They placed fifth in their division (only 1 point away from 4th) but also steadily improved throughout the day. The final race in the Delaware Open resulted in a first victory for both sailors in their respective positions.
Special thanks to Matthias for patiently teaching me the ropes throughout the weekend. Also, shout out to Mitch Poster and housemates; you guys were great hosts and probably the chillest people I’ve ever met. Stay S-themed my friends.