Fall '96 Newsletter

Princeton Sailing Team's mid-Fall Season Update
Goodbye and Good Luck from Andy Gooding
Princeton Sailing at Reunions '96
Spring '96 Season Roundup
President's Corner

Princeton Sailing Team's mid-Fall Season Update

by Amelia Brown '99
The team was on the water by the second week in September, due to the efforts of dedicated team veterans who returned to school early for pre-season preparations. We were also successful in early recruiting, drawing some new talent in our freshman class with skippers Greg Davis '00 and Chris Constant '00. Many veterans found enthusiatic and dedicated new crews among the freshman and sophomore classes.

We got off to a quick start at regattas this fall with a mid-fleet finish in the Riley Cup regatta at ODU the week classes started by Alison Aubrecht '97 with Meg Smith '98 and Mark Andrews '98 with Kate Snedeker '99, and we have sent teams to regattas on every weekend following. Competition at the Intersectionals has been fierce, with the team finishing lower than hoped. Sarah Nestor '98 with Victoria Coleman '99 and Emily Kalkstein '98 with Juliana Gamble '99 began the women's team's Intersectionals with the Yale Women's Intersectional. The first co-ed Intersectional was the Nevin's trophy at King's Point sailed by Gregg Furie '97 with Amelia Kaufman '99, Frank Flannery '97 with Jordan Parker '00 and Mark Andrews '98, and Michael Streicker '99. Furie and Kaufman and Brandon Schwartz '97 with Andy Goodman '99 also raced in the Danmark Trophy at Coast Guard.

The team also finished respectably at a selection of other regattas. Schwartz and Goodman along with Streicker and Amelia Brown '99 finished mid-fleet at the St. Mary's Open, as did Chris Powers '97 with Becca Coughlin '99 and Mark Andrews '98 with Victoria Coleman '99 in the Tom Curtis at Georgetown. New team members Greg Davis '00, Jordan Parker '00, Chris Constant '00 and Jason Balich '00 met other sailors from their class at the Freshmen Groundbreaker at SUNY, and Davis and Constant also sailed in the Kings Point Laser Open. More exciting regattas await this fall, including the Ivy League championships at the University of Pennsylvania and the War Memorial at St. Mary's College, the Fall District Championships.

Practices have been well attended, by the team if not always by the wind. All eight boats are full at every practice, with some pairs waiting to rotate in. Thanks to all of the alumni support we received last year, we were able to build a new dock last spring and over the summer. The dock has made the rigging and de-rigging process much more efficient, allowing us to spend thirty or forty minutes longer on the water. The dock also provides us with enough room to put space between boats, roll the sails neatly, and to tie the boats to the dock more securely to prevent damage in major storms. Rain or shine, we'll be out there practicing until Thanksgiving!

Goodbye and Good Luck from Andy Gooding

After eight years of playing coach for Princeton Sailing, I am hanging up the binoculars, at least for now, and returning to California in an attempt to make a living. Eight years, while just a blink compared to the long history of Princeton Sailing, is a shockingly long time to me. It's long enough to have seen two full turnovers of the team, to have worked with sailors whose ages span twelve years, to see things that team members once wished for taken for granted by their successors, and to have seen the wheel reinvented just a few times. I have seen so many personalities on this team, and so many personalities of this team. That, along with my evolution as a coach, has ensured that the job has never been routine.

I've often been asked by 'real' coaches to explain my volunteer career. Of course when I joined forces with Princeton Sailing in '88 I did it so I could sail. I viewed it as an exchange: I got to sail, and the Princeton sailors got a slightly souped up practice, assuming I could keep up. Peter Fortenbaugh '89 asked me to go to a few intersectionals and act as a coach, since it always helps to have another pair of of eyes looking from the outside. So I went, for my friends and because maybe I could learn something too. I got over the agony of watching and not being able to sail, and it became a regular thing.

At the time the program was going through a difficult phase materially. We were borrowing Lawrenceville High's 420's and sailing on Lake Mercer, which seemed less than ideal considering the team's aspirations. I encouraged Dave Banyard '90 to start the drive towards a fleet of our own and a better place to sail. The knowledge that he would never see the full result of his effort didn't seem to discourage him, and we fired up the Friends of Princeton Sailing for the eight FJ's we now sail at the Raritan Yacht Club.

I could hardly instigate such an upheaval without taking some responsibility, so of course I was neck deep in the whole process in an effort to vindicate it. Things did fall into place as hoped for, and good times followed quickly. The team was motivated, the sailing was constructive and the rankings soared. In '92 we won the War Memorial, made it to two National Championships, and Bryan Largay '92 and Liz Greene '92 (frosh at the start of my meddling) were named All-American and All Star Crew respectively. Mike Mills '94, All American, and Lisa Flannery '95, two-time Woman All-American soon joined them. The program worked well enough to allow talented sailors at Princeton to take on the powerhouses and come out on top.

Just as pleasing to me was seeing students who had never raced before, or even sailed before, progress to the point where they were winning in the big events. I watched Stergios Papadakis '94 match race a former Youth Champ in the last race of '94 districts, a shootout for the last Nationals berth, and I remember thinking how unlikely that would have seemed to me four years earlier. And of course there was Women's Nationals in '95, where I watched Princeton lead both divisions for much of the regatta. One of the skippers, Heidi Gaertner '95, had never been in a boat before coming to Princeton. Last year Mike Albert '96 rose from nowhere to represent us well enough to be ranked fifth in our very tough district, and many sailors currently on the team are poised to accomplish similar feats. The program also worked well enough to allow beginners room for staggering development.

Telling this brief history goes some way to explaining why I did it, but real coaches, who doubtless get the same satisfaction building their successful programs, remain amazed that I volunteered to do their job, as rewarding a sit may have been. Truthfully, I didn't do their job. Princeton Sailing is really student run and I became a great delegator. So I (usually) got to avoid much of a real coach's work, while doing some aspects of the job that I really liked. Also, there was the lucky circumstance that I could do the job while making a living some other way. I bet most sailors would do the same thing if they could. Let's not forget that I've probably spent more time in those FJ's than anyone else!

So eight years wiser, where do I think the program should be going? Material strength never hurt. Every gain we have had in this respect has left me wondering how we existed without it. I still believe it would be productive to scale our fleet up, the chief advantages being the ability to host major regattas and the increased recruiting power. Prospective sailors weight a program's material size heavily. The visibility generated by our recent success has not outweighed our lack of equipment enough to bring us the best young sailors. We would also lose fewer 'casual' sailors to the lack of available boats every Fall.

A coach or program director wouldn't hurt either. I think a student-run team is a good thing in many ways, but the character-building exercise of program maintenance can become overwhelming for the students at times. We have had much help from Jonathan Foot '83 in the way of program direction, and StergePapadakis will no doubt continue as volunteer coach, but it's a little scary to rely on the emergence of the next volunteer.

The team I leave is well aware of its long term needs and I am confident they will do what they have to in the way of maintaining the great things we have and in building on them. I am also confident they will continue to sail hard and well. I can't imagine what life would be like had I not become involved with this team. I know I would have fewer friends, and I'm pretty sure I'd have been tacked on far fewer times. Hey, you never know, maybe I'll be back.

Princeton Sailing at Reunions '96

by Sterge Papadakis '94

The Princeton Sailing team had a cookout and an open sailing session on Carnegie Lake at Reunions this year. The weather cooperated beautifully, providing us with some sunny weather and wind from the northwest, nearly straight down the lake. This direction provides the best sailing possible on the lake, and the alumni took full advantage of it. Recent All-American Mike Mills '94, and other recent alumni Amanda North '93, Julia Blankertz '94, Stergios Papadakis '94, and coach Andy Gooding GS '91 took to the lake early in the morning for some pleasure sailing that quickly evolved into impromptu racing. Luckily there was no one there to keep score, so we could all say we won at the subsequent cookout on the beach. More alumni, including recent Women's All American Lisa Flannery '95 and three-time Women's National Championship winner Nina Nielsen '76 were on hand for lunchtime festivities. Many thanks to graduating senior Mike Albert '96, who did much of the preparation for the event. The rest of the day passed beautifully, with alumni and their families gliding around the lake in the FJs and enjoying the 'burgers, hot dogs, and beverages provided by the team. Thank you to all the alumni who attended, we are always glad to meet you.

Spring '96 Season Roundup

by Sarah Nestor '98

The Varsity and Women's teams had another Spring full of sailing in '96, attending 17 regattas in all. The Varsity team's (Gregg Furie '97, Amelia Kaufman '99, Mike Albert '96, and Kate Snedeker '99) season was highlighted by sweeping Area B Dinghy Eliminations for the second year in a row and a 7th at the America's Trophy, which is the championship regatta for MAISA, one of the toughest districts in the nation. They held their own in team racing as well, placing 5th at Georgetown and 7th at MAISA Team Racing Eliminations at King's Point.

The Women's team, larger than ever with Gretchen Kaiser '97, Erica Just '99, Emily Kalkstein '98, Hilary Bramwell '98, Alison Aubrecht '97, Meg Smith '98, Sarah Nestor '98 and Samantha Mazo '99, finished a respectable 6th at MAISA Women's at Hobart William Smith after a tough season. The women did reign at Raritan however, taking 1st place in the first Princeton Women's Regatta ever. Our regatta is now the second major MAISA Women's event of the Spring, an exciting step up from the poorly attended JV regatta it used to be. We hope to improve it to intersectional status, but even with our new crash boat and dock space, we still lack the extra eight boats required to host a 16-boat intersectional.

President's Corner

by Jonathon Foot '84, President, Friends of Princeton Sailing

I hope everyone had a good summer and was able to do some sailing. I knocked heads against my old Princeton teammate and good friend Ted Dickson '83 at the Daysailer Nationals in Marblehead. Having won this event three times before, when racing together, for the first time we sailed against each other. While my wife and I had the slightly better weekm finishing first to Ted's third, it was simply fin to be spending time with a Princeton sailing friend. It reminded me of how much fun I had sailing for Princeton Sailing as an undergraduate and what an important role sailing has played in my life.

And just last Saturday I was able to spend a little bit of time talking with current team members racing at Georgetown, here in Washington, DC. I really enjoyed meeting them and seeing the enthusiasm they have for college sailing and for Princeton.

Return to the Top