Today was the third day of the Sperry Top-Sider/ICSA Women’s National Championship hosted by the Columbia Gorge Racing Association and the Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association. The sailors arrived at the Columbia River venue this morning to very little wind and a postponed for almost four hours.
It gave Jen Morgan Glass the opportunity to begin her clinic and educate the women’s sailors who did not advance beyond the First Round qualifier for Nationals, about skiff sailing in 29ers.
It was a cloudy day with temperatures in the mid to low 50s. Once the women were able to start racing both divisions completed four races.
Once A-division hit the water for their third race of the event and the racing sequence got started the breeze picked up to around 5-10 knots from the southerly direction. The Windward/Leeward course was set closer to the Oregon shore today, which meant that side of the course was desirable on the downwind legs because there is less current in the shallower water for the sailors to contend with, and it was less desirable upwind when the sailors want the current to push them up the course. The women appeared ready for the current today, as their first start was clean with no recalls.
When B-division came out for their first set of the day they had about 7-11 knots winds, but their first start was a general recall. By the time the race got started again the breeze had died to around 4-6 knots—barely enough to fight the 6 knot current, so once they rounded the first windward mark there was not enough wind to complete the race and the fleet was sent in for a postponement. The sailors waited two hours when some rain came and brought enough breezes to get back in their boats. In the meantime the 29er clinic coached by Jen Morgan Glass, was able to get in the boats a bit and mess around in the light air.
It was close racing in the A-division set with the leaders in the race switching positions around each mark. College of Charleston fought back from mid-fleet to win the first race of the day. In race 2A, as with most of the racing thus far, the leader of the race changes frequently and when it looked like University of Rhode Island and the University of South Florida were going to lead the race, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Yale and Boston College finished the top three spots.
Puffs of 15 knots started to roll down the river encouraging the B-fleet to get out to the starting line. The breeze continued to gust between 9-20 knots as race 3B progressed. The half of the fleet that did not compete in the First Round event seemed to be more comfortable in the conditions as teams like Stanford University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges were leading around marks. Harvard University, Yale and Connecticut College finished as the top three. The top of the fleet overall are very close in points at this point with a 12 point spread between first and fifth places. The wind started to get steady in race 4B around 8 knots, just enough to sail in the current. There was another general recall in 4B; it seems to be a common issue in the conditions on the Columbia River Gorge. St. Mary’s, Yale and Georgetown took the top three in this race.
In the last set for A-division, URI won race 5A. St. Mary’s College moved up to second place after winning races 5A and 6A—with an exciting finish in 6A overtaking Old Dominion at the finish. Megan Magill '11 and Meredith Powlison '11 picked up where their B-division Mimi Roller '12 and Katie Gluskin '13 left off, who won the previous 4B race. It seems as though the women had found their groove. St. Mary’s B-division also won a protest against URI from race 3B.
The breeze stayed steady at 5-12 knots for the B-division set. ODU took the lead overall after race 5B and URI relinquished their lead dropping to third place, but they were still within three points of each other. URI came back to win race 6B the last race of the day that ended around 8 p.m. Katie Gluskin from St. Mary’s explains, 'it was hard to stay in it (racing mode) when you have postponements for so many hours…yesterday we thought we knew what we were getting into, but we really didn’t. Today we felt more comfortable and tomorrow will be even better because we will be even more prepared.' St. Mary’s had a strong showing in both divisions today, 'You hope to be a team who can come to one of these events and win it on the last day, and we are a team who can,' says St. Mary’s head coach, Adam Werblow.
It still feels like it’s anyone’s regatta to win, the scores are very close and there is more racing to come. Tomorrow the exciting racing on the Gorge will continue. The fourth and final day of racing for the Women’s National Championship is tomorrow. Racing is scheduled to commence at 9 a.m. and the day will finish off with an awards banquet starting at 6 p.m. The Women’s All-America Team will be announced as well as the Quantum Women’s Sailor of The Year. On Friday, May 27 the APS/ICSA Team Race National Championship will begin and last until Sunday, May 29. Follow the racing online on the event website and watch videos on Sailgroove.
Nationals Website: 2011nationals.collegesailing.info
Video coverage of the racing and interviews with sailors are available on Sailgroove.
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. Visit www.collegesailing.org
to learn more. The ICSA National Championships are sponsored by Sperry Top-Sider (www.sperrytopsider.com
), Annapolis Performance Sailing (www.apsltd.com
), Gill North America (www.gillna.com
), and US SAILING (home.ussailing.org).