As light and variable conditions were afflicting dinghy sailing on the east coast, sailors strong and determined enough to be proficient in the Laser Radial and Laser Full Rig classes had their sights set on a berth at two of College Sailing’s 6 National Championships. The two events, Men’s and Women’s Singlehanded Championships, hosted by Hope College and Grand Valley State University, will sail either in Macatawa Bay, a small bay in Holland Michigan or on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, November second through the fourth. Needless to say, the conditions expected on Lake Michigan in November likely will add to the already hardcore nature of the Laser- a singlehanded boat stripped down so that the college athlete has no one to turn to as they face the elements.
The women’s singlehanded championship will consist of 18 boats from around the nation. 11 of the 18 women’s slots were determined last weekend as the Mid-Atlantic (MAISA), New England (NEISA) and South-east (SEISA) women’s singlehanded conference championships were sailed.
Yale’s Louisa Nordstrom ‘20 won the NEISA Women’s Singlehanded Championship at Boston College over last year’s national champion, Sophia Reineke ‘21. Nordstrom, already on the shortlist for Quantum Women’s sailor of the year, is unquestionable one of the most naturally gifted sailors in the nation and, though not widely known as a laser sailor, has the tactical knowhow to win any event, women’s or coed, laser or dinghy. She showed her talent in a statement win over the weekend.
Nordstrom started slow before stringing together three consecutive first place finishes to catch and surpass Reineke. Nordstrom was able to fend off the incumbent throughout the remainder of the 11 race regatta, finishing with 42 points to Reineke’s 44.
Finishing third was Connecticut College’s AnaLucia Clarkson ‘22, who, finishing only 1 point behind Reineke, was never more than 7 points some the New England title. First year sailors are always a wild-card at the singlehanded events. Consider Clarkson a dark horse candidate for a national championship come November.
Abbie Carlson ‘22 of Tufts finished 4th, Hannah Steadman ‘20 of Brown, 5th and Isabella Loosbrock ‘19 of Boston College finished 6th to round out the Radial Sailors headed to the National Championship from New England.
Faye Bennet MAISA Women's Singles was sailed at the United States Naval Academy and qualifies the top 4 sailors to the Women’s Singlehanded National Championship, November 2-4.
George Washington’s Riley Legault ‘19 won the event with 54 points. Despite the final score tally, the late stages of the regatta were extremely close due to a late charge by University of Pennsylvania’s Lenox Butcher ‘20.
Legault got off to a hot start winning the first race and scoring no races outside the top-5 through the first 8 races of the regatta, establishing a 12 point lead by the eventual regatta winner. However, Butcher would not go quietly as she caught fire and passed Legault after race 10, holding the lead for 2 races. Between race 4 and 12, Butcher finished with a top-3 score in 8 of the 9 races. Legault showed resolve in finishing the regatta’s last two races ahead of Butcher and defending a one point lead going into the finish race of the event.
Butcher finished with 63 points, Carly Broussard ‘21 of Georgetown University finished third with 69 points and Jessica McJones of Navy finished 4th with 74, rounding out those heading to the national championship.
The NEISA Men's Singlehanded Championship, sailed at Boston College, occurred alongside the NEISA women’s championship. The top-4 finishers qualify and move on to the Singlehanded National Championship, November 2-4.
Harvard’s Henry Marshall ‘22, ran away with the event late finishing with 4 points in the regatta’s final three races, 37 points overall. The freshman showed poise in an extremely tough fleet, besting the 2016 Singlehanded National Champion, Scott Rasmussen ‘20 of Boston College, who finsihed 10 points behind Mr. Marshall. Marshall had no races outside the top-9 in a 20 boat fleet and finished in the top-3 in 8 of the 11 races.
Scott Rasmussen finished with 47 points. Brown’s Patrick Shanahan ‘19 finished 3rd with 56 points and Boston University’s Javier De Urganibia Panos ‘21 finished 4th with 67. Notably, Nicolas Baird ‘19 of Yale, one of the best sailors in the nation, fell short of qualifying despite finishing in the top-10 in 2 of the previous 3 Singlehanded National Championships, showing the depth of competition at the regatta.
The SEISA Men's Singlehanded Championship was hosted by Texas A&M Galveston where only the top boat at the 6 sailor event would move on to the Championship. Five of the 6 competing boats were from the host school, Texas A&M Galveston with the lone competitor sailing away from home was Erik Schumann ‘22 of Tulane. John Hanna ‘19 dominated the familiar faced field putting up all first place finishes in the 7 race event. Mr. Hannah will be one of two SEISA sailors representing the conference at the National Championship as Tulane’s Ciara Rodriguez-Horan won the SEISA Women's Singlehanded Championship besting the one other boat sailing each of the seven races of the regatta.
On the dinghy side, as mentioned above, not much sailing was completed. Dartmouth College won both of the NEISA In-conference regattas, coed and women's, sailed on the Charles River, showing their depth. Hobart and William Smith and Georgetown won the two MAISA In-conference regattas sailed at Fordham and St. Mary’s, respectively. Neither regatta featured more than five different schools as the new college sailing schedule presents no opportunities for the presumptive top teams across the nation to compete against each other.