Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The biggest morning of the season thus far donned with a crash and a bang which was followed by a long day of getting dressed and discovering there was nowhere to go except swimming in the lake on the sweltering humid day or inside to play catch phrase and other time absorbing games. While the lack of wind did spark a great deal of creativity, it was not at all conducive to sailing and left the Bulldogs without any results to carry them into tomorrow.
Following a torrential rain storm and a skippers meeting, the breeze shut off. A division headed out once the storm had dissipated but was greeted with an absence of wind. They floated around for a long time before being called back in.
After another block of time on land lapsed before a miniscule puff of breeze filled sending senior Sarah Lihan and junior Elizabeth Brim back out on the water. The sound of race warning horns produced cheers from those on shore, as it appeared that the 2010 ICSA Women’s National Semifinals were finally getting underway.
The race began in a bit of breeze that died on the second beat. Lihan and Brim were flagged for rule 42 (too much boat manipulation), forcing them to complete a 720, putting them towards the back of the pack. They climbed their way back to seventh when the race was abandoned on the third leg due to an extreme lack of wind.
For the second time, the Bulldogs returned to shore without a race. Feeling creative, the Bulldogs invented some games, which can be seen on sailgroove.org. Another thunderstorm rolled through, bringing wind. However, with continuing lightening the Bulldogs began to feel like a stuttering CD, as they prepared to go out on the water, getting dressed and pulling up the jib multiple times before the lightning returned, forcing everyone back on land. Finally, the regatta was called for the day at 6:15 p.m.
Three races must be completed in both divisions tomorrow to make the semifinals count. Otherwise, the nationals will just be sailed among the teams who qualified based on the old standards. This means that only five teams from NEISA will sail, putting the Bulldogs, who finished sixth at the New England Championships based on a tiebreaker, on the outside of qualifying.
While the forecast is not particularly optimistic for tomorrow, the regatta schedule allows for sailing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., which will hopefully allow for a chance to complete the races.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Nationals will be held May 25-28 on Lake Mendota on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The first day will be a semi-final competition for the last nine spots in the national championship. The Bulldogs are one of the 18 teams from across the country fighting to join the automatics in the finals. The second day will be a half-day of semi-final competition if at least six races have been completed in both divisions over the day and a half. If fewer than six races have been sailed then the semi-final competition will continue for the rest of the day. If six have been sailed then the finals competition will begin following a lunch break. May 27 and 28 will both be full days of sailing for the National Championship beginning each morning at 9:30. No race can begin after 5:00 p.m. on Friday.
The University of Wisconsin last hosted the event in 1996. They are extremely excited to host the event this year in conjunction with the Hoofer Sailing Club. Wisconsin is a perennial power in the Midwest and often travels east to participate in regattas in the Northeast. The Wisconsin women’s team qualified for the semi-finals and will get to sail on their home waters in their 420s. North Sails is providing the sails for the event.
The Bulldogs will face stiff competition in the semi-finals. Both No. 1 Boston College and No. 3 Charleston had off weekends at their respective regional championships, causing them to miss grabbing the automatic finals slots. While being assured of a berth in the finals is less nerve wracking, the Bulldogs will get some quality time on the waters of Lake Mendota and in the Wisconsin 420s. Much like lakes in the Northeast, Mendota can throw pretty much every condition at the sailors. The wind can range from none or very little to colossal.
Because of the unpredictable wind conditions, the Bulldogs are bringing a large contingency, providing them with options and a sizable cheering squad. Seniors Sarah Lihan and Rebecca Jackson, juniors Elizabeth Brim and Blair Belling, sophomores Genoa Warner, Stephanie Schuyler and Margot Benedict, and freshmen Emily Billing, Claire Dennis and Heather May will all be making the trip to Madison. Senior Marla Menninger will also be available to come off the bench for the finals once she arrives with the Co-eds early on May 27.
While the season has been a bit of a rollercoaster for the Bulldogs, they find themselves in the perfect position to peak at the right time. With plenty of motivation as well as vigorous practice, the Bulldogs are primed and prepared to sail their way, beat by beat, to the most important finish of all and to prove that rankings don’t mean anything if there isn’t a trophy involved.