The New Fleet Has Arrivedby Graham Elliot '01
The sun was out, the sky was blue and the semi trailer was loaded with boats, our boats, twelve brand new Vanguard FJ's. This was in early September, and the fall season has been a pure joy for me as fleet captain.
Our existing eight FJ's were getting to the stage that the ware and tare of several seasons of hard sialing was really showing through. Breakdowns of one kind or another were happening nearly every practice, and I was spending more time in the boat shed or on the docks fixing problems than sailing. Rarely was it possible to get more than six boats out at any time, leaving sailors unhappily waiting in the crash boat.
The new boats have meant a great deal to the team. Not only have they acted as as enormous moral booster, they have let more people get on the water at every practice, after all we are on the sailing team! Anyone who was able to make it to R.Y.C. for the alumni regatta this fall will know what a difference the extra boats made on the start line. Increasing competition, and making practice reflect the regattas we sail in every weekend has allowed the team to improve steadily. New sailors have had an opportunity to get more experience, and our regulars skippers have not had to forego any practic time.
Having twelve boats also means that we can host more competitive regattas ourselves, with a greater number of teams, and better sailors attending.
All in all, I can't wait for the spring season to arrive. I know that the boats will continue to preform excellently as they have all fall, and the winter will give us an opportunity to custimize the rigging further. I would like to extend a personal thank you to everyone who was intrumental in making this new fleet a reality, and to thank everyone for their support.
Varsity Notesby Mike Streicker '99
The fall season saw a vast improvement in the fortunes of the Coed sailing team. We were greeted by the arrival of both the fleet of twelve new FJ's much to everyone's excitment and many new team members who played an important role in the successes of the team. Throughout the season, the two varsity spots were in hot competition between Mike Streicker'99/Whitney Birdwell'01, Doug Turnbull'01/Julie Semmelhack'01, and Dave Provan'99/Michele Maxson'01.
The first major intersectional of the fall season was the Nevins Trophy at Kings Point. Because of Princeton's late start date this year, the regatta took place two days after classes bagan. Thus, we did not fare as well as we might have hoped, but it did allow us to identify problem areas on which we focused our practices. The next intersectional in which we sailed was the Hap Moore Team Race at Coast Guard. In this regatta, we showed signs of our capabilities as the team was able to post two wins, one of which was over the defending team race national champions ODU. Hopefully, the potential that was shown at this regatta will be realized this spring, when the other major team race regattas will be held, including nationals.
The weekend of October 17th saw the varsity team head down to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD for the Navy Fall Regatta. This four division regatta is considered by some to be the best regatta of the fall as teams are required to show their depth by producing two laser sailors in addition to the usual double handed boats. The team of Dave Provan'99/Michele Maxson'01 and Mike Steicker'99/Whitney Birdwell'01 sailed A and B respectively, while Doug Turnbull'01 and Ben Hodgson sailed in C and D divisions. Overall, the team was disappointed with its finish as it semed we were unable to capitalize on many opportunities for good races.
After practicing for a week in Yale's 420s, the team headed back to the Naval Academy for the War Memorial Regatta. This qualification regatta for Coed Atlantic Coasts brought the best of MAISA together. The first day's racing saw beautiful conditions while on the second day the breeze was light and inconsistent. Unfortunatley for the team, we finished in ninth place which left us two spots away from qualifying for AC's. Overall, the team saw improved racing results and judging by the freshman skill level and enthusiasm, the team looks to be in good position for a strong spring season.
Women's Team Updateby Megan Kelly-Sweeny '02
The Princeton Women's team had a good season this fall. We started off this season at a tough intersectional regatta, Navy Women's. Megan Kelly-Sweeny'02/ Anne Ruderman'01 sailed in A division and Laura Drumm'01/Jen Ralph'01 sailed in B division. The weekend was graced with a strong breeze of 12-15 knots and strong competition in both fleets. Puffs and oscilating breeze made it important to shift gears aand always keep our heads up looking for the next shift. The racing was very close making for hectic mark roundings and opportunities to change postion drastically even on the last short beat to the finish. Triangle courses were the theme of the weekend and the Navy race committee did a good job in getting off 18 races. We had our ups and downs throughout the weekend and ended up finishing midfleet.
Princeton Women's Fall Open gave us an opportunity to host a few good teams in our home waters at Raritan Yacht Club. Kelly-Sweeny sailed in A division with crews Ruderman and Amelia Brown'99 and Drumm sailed in B division with crews Ralph and Cathy Legg'99. Light to moderate breeze and warm weather let us leave the dry suits at home and sail in shorts and t-shirts for a weekend. The racing was close on Saturday with Princton, Queens and Hobart/William Smith exchanging first, second and third places. On Sunday however, the Princeton women settled into a steady trend of first place finishes and ended up in first overall.
MAISA Women's at SUNY Maritime Academy was our next regatta. Once again it was Kelly-Sweeny/Ruderman in A division with Drumm and crew Julie Semmelhack'01 in B division on Saturday. On Sunday, Semmelhack took over in B division with crew Becca Coughlin'99. A moderate breeze on Saturday morning started out the series but soon the wind settled into its usual patter of light and shifty. The current was a crucial factor, particularly in the turning tides on Sunday. We sailed a strong regatta, finishing midfleet and qualifying for Women's Atlantic Coast Championships to be held at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. We are looking forward to a strong end to the fall season and a big push into the all important spring season.
The Princeton Sloop Experienceby Doug Turnbull '01
This year, the Mid-Atlantic Sloop elimination fell on the first weekend of Princeton's fall break. The able crew of Michael Streicker '99, Jason Balich '00, Chris Constant '00, and myself headed down to Annapolis to sail in J-24's provided by the U.S. Naval Academy. We had qualified for this regatta on the basis of our strong sloop resume.
Unfortunately, we were unable to get any practice time in a J-24 before the regatta. Although the four of us were accomplished dinghy sailors, we had to work as a team and decide positions on the Boat. Constant's previous experience in numerous big boats made him the best candidate for foredeck. Streicker was given the task of pitman and tactician. Balich, owner and skipper of his own J-80 sloop, was put in charge of sail trim. I, having grown up sailing on the Flannery's (Lisa'95 and Frank'97) J-24 back home in Ithaca, NY, was given the opportunity to drive.
The 12-15 knot winds on the first day gave us a slight advantage over our less heavy opponents. Despite our lack of practice, competitive starts and near flawless spinnaker sets made us a very competitive team. As winds lightened on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, our boat speed was down. We finished in 8th pace overall.
For next year, we will have to find both a replacement for Streicker and a J-24 in order to practice on before the regatta. Based on the experience gained this year, we look forward to a very strong team for next year's competition.
Princeton Sailing Goes To Yaleby Andy Goodman '99
Although most people go south for fall break, Princeton Sailing went north (where it's colder and windier) for our annual trip to Yale. The team took advantage of the week without classes to get in some extra practice in 420's, the other boat used in regattas besides FJ's. As soon as the Women's and Coed varsity team returned from their regattas, we piled into four cars and head north for Yale University. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of the Streickers, who allowed us to stay at their house in Connecticut, we were able to practice all day long. We made the most of our four days, running countless drills, races, and practice starts until it was too dark to see the marks. Although Yale had finished their season already, we were able to convince a few of their team members to come sail with us, and the chance to put in a lot of time in 420's was invaluable. We even had alum,and past commodore Emily Kalkstein '98 come sail with us for a day.
The Yale trip is a really important part of the fall season because it is the only chance for the entire team to practice together for a longer than a couple hours at a time. We all felt much more comfortable with the 420's after four solid days of training. Several crews tried their hand at driving, and some new pairs were worked on in anticipation for the spring.
All in all, Yale '98 was a great success for the team. Thanks again to the Streicker family for their generous hospitality to sixteen college sailors ( and our smelly gear). We eould also like to thank Yale for letting us use their facilities and we look forward to many trips to come.
The Freshman Perspectiveby Benjamin Hodgson '02
The small number of freshmen sailors on this year's team was disappointing, but it could not put a damper on the potential that these sailors possess. This year's freshman roster consisted of Megan Kelly-Sweeny'02, David Beek'02, Ravi Ranachandran'02, and myself. Megan and I have a large amount of experience and we are both looking to bring that into competition at the college level. Dave and Ravi have just now come to the sport, but already they prove eager to learn and their dedication is very impresive. At the SUNY Freshmen Groundbreaker, the Princeton teamposted a respectable finish despite a lack of regatta experience. Special recognition should go to Ravi, who preformed well in a regatta with light and shifty conditions and just a few hours of practice under his belt.
What the team lacked in experience and numbers was easily compensated for by the enthusiasm of the new recruits. Having the opportunity to sail the new fleet of boats is definitely an excellent thing to have when teaching new sailors, because of the reliablity that new boats offer. At the conclusion of the fall season, we are looking to a strong winter recruiting drive, and a successful spring season.