A total of 36 college sailing teams descended on the U.S. Naval Academy this weekend for the Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s (ICSA) National Championship Semi-Finals with supporting sponsors U.S. Sailing and Marlow. The Semi-Finals were divided into two fleets, Eastern and Western each comprised of 18 teams from schools across the nation.
ICSA Semi-Finals - ICSA National Championship Semi-Finals
The top nine schools in each fleet qualify to compete in the Gill/ICSA Coed Dinghy National Championship Finals June 6 – 8 in Austin, Texas.
Fourteen races were completed in both the Eastern and Western Semi-Finals on Windward/Leeward courses with the fleets rotating each day in 420s and FJs.
Sailors arrived to light winds on Saturday morning, which persisted throughout the day. Sailing was delayed until 10 a.m. in the hopes that more wind would fill in. The wind stayed light and shifty throughout the day averaging around 7mph. Annapolis did not fail to deliver its classic motorboat chop, making the conditions that much more challenging for sailors.
Sunday brought better conditions for the sailors. The wind started from a northerly direction, but eventually shifted to the South-Southwest and built throughout the day to more than 12mph by the afternoon.
'It was great sailing this weekend, choppy and tough competition,' says Mitch Brindley, president of the ICSA and head coach for Old Dominion University. The competition was certainly deep and teams were holding on to their spots and fighting to stay in the top nine in both fleets.
For the University of South Florida and Boston University, who won US Sailing’s GRIT award for being the final team in each group to qualify for the National Championship Finals, they had to fend off the teams just behind them who were fighting until the end for a qualifying spot.
For the teams at the top of their fleets, today was a good day and a pleasant surprise with better winds. 'Today turned out to be windy with few shifts and nice waves,' says Mike Callahan, head coach for Georgetown University. Georgetown won the Eastern Semi-Final taking the lead in the regatta Sunday morning.
He says what worked in such a tough fleet was consistency. 'The difference in who won races was who got off the starting line cleanly and was not called over early,' he says. Despite their positive performance this weekend, Georgetown is looking forward to getting in a lot of good practice before heading to the Finals. Callahan says the other teams are getting better and better. Georgetown sailors Chris Barnard ‘13 and Hilary Kenyon ‘13 with Leslie Cowen ‘13 sailed in A division and Evan Aras ‘12 and Katherine Canty 12 sailed B division, bringing home the win for the Hoyas.
The University of Miami won the Western Semi-Final, with sailors Nicholas Voss ‘12 and Nicole Popp ‘12 and Kara Voss ‘15 in A division and David Hernandez ‘12 and Chelsea Carlson ’13 in B division. Miami is a club team that started out four years ago not having a chance at qualifying for the Finals and this year they are true contenders, says Kay Kilpatrick, an advisor for the team.
She said today was more like Biscayne Bay, where Miami practices, but with chop thrown in. 'The breeze came in and it was perfect this afternoon,' says Kilpatrick. The team is excited to be heading to Texas in just a few weeks.
Next up the University of Texas and Austin Yacht Club, June 6 – 8, 2012, will host the Gill/ICSA Coed National Championship Finals.
Congratulations to the qualifying teams:
1. Georgetown University
2. Roger Williams University
3. Stanford University
4. College of Charleston
5. Old Dominion University
6. Hobart and William Smith Colleges
7. Brown University
8. Dartmouth College
9. Boston University
1. University of Miami
2. Yale University
3. Harvard University
4. SUNY Maritime College
5. Boston College
6. University of Wisconsin
7. U.S. Naval Academy
8. Tufts University
9. University of South Florida
The Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) is the governing authority for sailing competition at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in some parts of Canada.