CHARLESTON, S.C. – It was a stacked weekend of competition for the nationally-ranked College of Charleston coed, women’s and offshore sailing teams competing in a school-record six events across the nation.
“Six regattas in one weekend is an all-time record for our program,” CofC Director of Sailing Greg Fisher said. “With all who raced finishing at least third-or-better, we are pretty fired up at the results and progress of our teams.”
Regatta 1: Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup (Los Angeles, Calif.)
In its first event of the spring season, CofC offshore team traveled to the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup in Los Angeles, Calif. Having won the ICSA Keelboat National Championship to top off an undefeated fall season, the Cougars carried a lot of momentum with them out to the West Coast.
The 10-race series saw Charleston battling it out with nine other top keelboat programs at this premier, invitation-only event. After the first two days of competition, the Cougars were just one point shy of the top spot, controlled by four-time event winner Cal Maritime entering the final day. Despite their best efforts, and what many proclaimed to be the best two final races in the event’s history, the defending national champion College of Charleston narrowly missed catching Cal Maritime and settled for a very impressive second-overall finish.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and our performance,” Senior Tactician Timmy Crann said. “We sailed an incredible regatta to end our season. It’s bittersweet to end my career here at CofC, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Offshore Cougs in the future.”
The offshore team, in its second year as a varsity sport at CofC, were represented by veteran Harbor Cup sailors skipper Jay Greenfield, tactician Timothy Crann (Red Bank, N.J.), secondary trimmer Charles Essi (Lakewood, Ohio) and bowman Brent Burrows II (Nassau, Bahamas). They were joined by newcomers in primary trimmer Noah Blacker (St. Petersburg, Fla.), pit boss Corinne Durocher (Monroe, Mich.), mast man Howie Meyers (Bellport, N.Y.) and alternate Stefan Kuehn (Cutchogue, N.Y.).
Regatta #2: Navy Spring Women’s (Annapolis, Md.)
The CofC women spent the weekend at the U.S. Naval Academy looking to improve on a seventh-place performance at last year’s Navy Spring Women’s event. After two days of dominant racing, the Cougars pulled off an impressive win despite cold and windy conditions. They were able to out-sail 19 other teams for top honors through the five-race series.
The College of Charleston was led to victory by skipper Clerc Cooper (New Orleans, La.) and sophomore crew Chloe Dapp (Newport Beach, Calif.) in A-Division and freshman skipper Eliot Caple and junior crews Katie Dowling (Coronado, Calif.) and Michaela Reynolds (Providence, R.I.) in B-Division.
Regatta #3: Eckerd Intersectional (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
A strong performance at last year’s edition of the Eckerd Intersectional had the Cougars eager and ready to get back to St. Petersburg, Fla. The Cougars battled it out with host Eckerd College Tritons in a series of tight races for the top position on Saturday. They were forced to settle for second when poor weather conditions left regatta officials unable to attempt any races on Sunday, turning the intersectional into a one-day event. The second-place Cougars beat eight other inter-conference schools in the two-division event.
Charleston was represented by freshman Christophe Killian skippering A-Division with freshman crew Grace McCarthy (San Diego, Calif.) as well as freshman skipper Nikki Medley and sophomore crew Bayley Davidson (Newport Beach, Calif.) racing in B-Division.
Regatta #4: St. Mary’s Team Race (St. Mary’s, Md.)
The CofC team race squad took third overall at the St. Mary’s Team Race in St. Mary’s, Md. Forty-five races and brutal Sunday conditions (seeing as much as 28 knots), was not enough to keep the Cougars off the podium.
The first day of competition for the Cougars was less than boring with conditions in the mid 50’s, wind in the 5-to-10 knot range, and a consistent rainfall that kept CofC in its dry suits, but far from actually being dry. They finished the day with a 9-2 record through 11-races sailed.
With a huge wind increase on Sunday, Charleston started out the day with a pair of wins and a loss, but racing stopped for a short while due to extremely high winds. Race management decided to change the regatta to a top six round robin using the better suited 420s instead of FJs. The Cougars survived the out-of-control conditions with only one capsize to pull out a third-place finish.
The rotations for the regatta included junior Jake Reynolds (San Diego, Calif.) and senior All-American Ali Blumenthal (Bellport, N.Y.), junior Ryan Davidson (Newport Beach, Calif.), senior Morgan Buckley (Yonkers, N.Y.) and junior Beka Schiff (Tampa, Fla.), junior Reed Baldridge (Clear Lake, Texas) and freshman Elizabeth Pemberton (Osterville, Mass.) and junior Dodge Rees (Pensacola, Fla.) and senior Tierney Driscoll (Bayport, N.Y.).
Regatta #5: Oriental SailPack Invitational (Raleigh, N.C.)
In its first-ever event, the College of Charleston Development Team took the win at the Oriental SailPack Invitational Regatta held in North Carolina. They sailed an impressive series, despite the pouring rain, to claim the top spot out of 12 boats. CofC also field a second team, which placed sixth.
“There was a good bit of wind and a lot of rain, but we were all impressed with how we did,” said Development Team Captain Allyson Plessner. “We had an awesome time and we were really able to grow together as a team, which is important. It was a very well-run event and a great way to give our team some true regatta experience.”
Coached by former CofC sailor Sam Stokes, the Development Team sailed six races against teams at the NC State-run event. The team is a new initiative at the College of Charleston to prepare less experienced, yet talented sailors, for Varsity competition through top-level coaching, regatta experience and physical training.
Regatta #6: North Points #3 (Atlanta, Ga.)
Unfortunately, NP3 was unable to constitute a regatta due to lack of breeze and a lack of completed racing. The Cougars had fielded freshman Tily Milburn (Falmouth, Maine), freshman Clare Dahl (Newport Beach, Calif.), freshman Sean Donahue (East Dennis, Mass.) and freshman Marissa Bamonte (Tiverton, R.I.) to Georgia Tech.
After an eventful weekend, the Cougars will lighten the load of competition with two events and sending sailors to the Graham Hall Team Race hosted by Navy on March 21-22 in Annapolis, Md., and the St. Mary’s Women’s regatta hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s, Md.