In the final day of racing at the Sperry Top-Sider/ICSA Women’s National Championship for the Gerald C. Miller Memorial Trophy, the women arrived and waited for wind until around 2 p.m.
The delay on shore caused everyone to question whether any more races would be sailed today. It was cool and cloudy with rain on and off, but finally some breeze began to come down the river at about 2-7 knots from a westerly direction. A-division was able to fit in two races before the 5 p.m. racing cut off, but B-division only sailed one race, therefore only one race in each division counted today on Windward/Leeward courses.
A-division’s seventh race of the event and first race of the day was sailed in just enough breeze to get around the course and fight the current. The women were able to hug the shore a bit on the downwind to find current relief in the shallow water. Brown University, Yale University and College of Charleston led the race around the first windward mark and as the fleet spread downwind Yale was able to take the lead at the leeward mark and went on to win the first race. The breeze started to fill in with gusts, cold air and periods of rain. At this point, the University of Rhode Island managed to hold on to their lead closely followed by a number of schools: St. Mary’s College, Old Dominion, Yale, Georgetown and Connecticut College.
The 29er clinic hosted by Jen Morgan Glass was able to get out on the water and follow the racing. The girls got a great feel for the boats in the changing conditions. By the time B-division made it on the water for their seventh and last race of the event the breeze was up and the teams were all very close in points leaving B-division with close racing on the line. The start went off and St. Mary’s was first around the first windward mark rounding followed by Hobart and URI in hot pursuit. By the second windward mark URI had taken the lead. Around the last leeward mark rounding URI began to extend away from the fleet and easily won the race. It is an exciting day for URI as it is the first time they have ever made a presence at the Women’s National Championship. They won the event by ten points with four teams right on their tail. The winning URI team is: Amy Hawkins, Caroline Hall, Chanel Miller, Danielle Fougere and Katie Coupland. Miller is a freshman on the team and their B-division skipper, 'I cannot even believe this as a freshman—to have this happen, it’s amazing.' Hawkins explains, 'we had a lot of New England teams come and practice with us in Rhode Island to prepare for this event and they kept telling us the current was going to be this strong, but we did not believe them…now we do.' They certainly caught on to the conditions well.
It was a difficult event due to all of the postponements and stopping and starting, not to mention the challenging conditions that the Gorge presented; rain, its strong currents and unpredictable winds. The top five teams were very close and were swapping positions in the standings constantly. It was a great event with fair sailing and the Columbia Gorge Racing Association and Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association were excellent hosts along with all of their volunteer helpers. All of the collegiate teams raced hard and offered great competitive sailing. Up next is the APS/ICSA Team Race National Championships, the racing begins tomorrow at 9 a.m. Follow the event live online and for full results and information about this event and others visit the regatta website. Congratulations to all of the teams competing in the Sperry Top-Sider/ICSA Women’s National Championship. Top Ten Teams:
1. University of Rhode Island
2. Connecticut College
3. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
4. Brown University
5. Yale University
6. Old Dominion University
7. Harvard University
8. U.S. Coast Guard Academy
9. Georgetown University
10. Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Nationals Website: 2011nationals.collegesailing.info
Video coverage of the racing and interviews with sailors are available on Sailgroove.
View photos of the event at GTS Photos: www.gtsphotos.com 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).