PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Massachusetts Maritime Academy Sailing Team concluded its busy April this past weekend at the U.S. Coast Guard Alumni Bowl, which served as the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA) Co-ed Championship. As one of nine NCAA Division-III universities out of a field of 18, the Buccaneers finished 17th despite an excellent effort by its B Division pairing.
The Academy sent six sailors to compete for the NEISA title, with conditions on Saturday ideal for racing. The weather featured a 10-15 knot sea-breeze right down the long axis of the river and 70 degree weather. Ten races were completed in both divisions on the championship's first day.
Throughout the weekend, Frank Reeg sailed with Sydney Clays when the wind was light and in the big breeze August Pizzano switched in for Clays for the A Division. Alex Bowen sailed with Megan Laurie in B Division, while senior captain Sergio Gratta replaced Laurie for Races 7-10. Over the two days, the B Division squad was only just behind the University of Vermont at 180 points and 15th place.
After superb weather on Saturday, Sunday was a different story. Early morning rain squashed the wind and racing did not start until noon as a result. It was a day filled with more wind shifts and an outbound current that dominated the racecourse, but four races were sailed in both divisions.
Throughout the two-day regatta, the Bucs were neck-and-neck with Salve Regina University, which only pulled ahead on the final race of the championship. The Seahawks totalled 378 points to Maritime's 387 as the Buccaneers finished 17th overall in their last dinghy competition for the spring season. Just ahead of the pair were the Catamounts (340) and Northeastern University (351), while Middlebury College was well behind at 469.
"The Bucs struggled on the starting line against NEISA's best sailors," explained Head Coach Matt Wordell. "The quality of competition made it difficult to forge a comeback if you couldn't get off the line cleanly."
Competition was dominated by Boston College, Roger Williams University, and Dartmouth College, who finished in that order as the only sailors under 200 points. Joining them in qualifying for the Gill College Sailing Dinghy National Championship are the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the University of Rhode Island, Yale University, MIT, and Boston University.
"The sailing team looks forward to the beginning of the summer season with the 47th annual Figawi race," concluded Wordell. "The team has two boats entered in a fleet that is closing in on 200 boats overall."
Full results of the Championship Regatta can be found here. Make sure to bookmark www.mmabucs.com for more on sailing at MMA and get the inside scoop on Facebook and Twitter @mmabuccaneers. Plus, check out our new Instagram @massmaritimebuccaneers.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate, with copy from Matt Wordell, Head Dinghy Coach