Spring '99 Newsletter


Varsity Notes

by Jason Balich ‘00

Get excited, 'cause this ain't no rebuilding year! The duo of Doug Turnbull '01 and Jason Balich '00 are giving the big dogs a run for their money. The spring season began as always with a week of practice in Palm Island, Florida with recent alumni giving the team its preseason training. Unfortunately, this was followed by a lackluster performance at the St. Mary's Team Race on February 27 and 28 where Princeton finished 10th among a field of nationally ranked teams. However, the team was fortu-nate enough to enlist Eric Leitner, a Raritan Yacht Club member as well as a world class J/24 sailor as a part time coach this spring—and things couldn't have gotten any better. The Old Dominion Open was sailed on the 6th and 7th of March in heavy winds on which the varsity team traditionally thrives. This regatta was no exception: Balich, sailing with Amelia Brown '99 won A division handily while Graham Elliott '01 and Anoop Gupta '01 rounded out B division to post an overall team finish of 4th place. Next was the Area B team race which Princeton hosted on the 20th of March, and once again Turnbull, Balich, and senior Mike Streicker '99 swept the regatta finishing 1st overall and qualifying for the MAISA Team Race. And the winning streak continued. On April 3rd and 4th, Kings Point held the Area B Dinghy Eliminations which were sailed in 8 to 12 knot winds and moderate current in 420's and FJ's. In an un-precedented finish, Turnbull sailing with Julie Semmelhack '01 and Laura Drumm '01, ended the regatta 4 points out of first in A division, while Balich sailing with Jay Brown '01, placed 1st in B division by a remarkable 14 points. For the first time in recent memory Prin-ceton won the regatta by over 20 points beating nationally ranked Kings Point and SUNY Marritime, firmly qualifying for the America's Trophy at the Naval Academy on May 1st and 2nd, which is MAISA's qualifying re-gatta for nationals. Turnbull and Balich proceeded to finish 13th each in their respective divisions at the Admiral's Cup on the 17th and 18th of March which was sailed in light to moderate breeze, competing against teams such as St. Mary's, Hobart William Smith, the Naval Academy, Tufts University, and even Texas A&M. The only regatta left in the lineup is the America's Trophy, and hopefully the magic will continue. Big things are in store for this varsity team next year, so stay tuned. Hopefully, Eric Leitner will continue in a more permanent fashion as the coach of the Princeton Sailing Team this upcoming fall, replacing the vacancy left by Andy Gooding *91 who is training full time for the 2000 Olympics (check out his website at http://www.pacifict.com/olympic), and help the team realize their full potential, putting Princ-eton back inthe national rankings, and perhaps even resulting in a trip to nationals...


Women’s Update

by Megan Kelly-Sweeny’02

This season the women’s team had a bit of a rough start, but pulled through to finish with a great showing in the end. Navy women’s in April gave Laura Drumm ‘01, Julie Semmelhack ‘01, and Cathy Legg ‘99 great practice in tough competition, but unfortunately they were faced with the added challenge of being short one team member. The girls made the most of these unfor-tunate circumstances with a show of dedication as they sailed in as many races as possible. Princeton Women’s was a step forward as the women sailed to a 3rd place finish in chilly and breezy con-ditions. Drumm demonstrated her range of talents driving in A fleet on Saturday with Annie Ruderman ‘01 crewing, and then switching to crew in A fleet with Megan Kelly-Sweeney ‘02 driving on Sunday. Semmelhack skippered B division with Whitney Birdwell ‘01 crewing. The ladies made another good showing at the coed Arrigan regatta at Georgetown with a 8th place finish out of 14 teams. Drumm skippered A with crew Anoop Gupta ‘01, an honorary member of the women’s team for the weekend, and Semmelhack and Legg sailed B division. MAISA women’s was a lovely contrast from the beginning of the season as the girls garnered attention for providing some serious competition in this qualifier for the
Women’s National Championships. Kelly-Sweeney skippered A division with Ruderman crewing on Saturday and veteran senior Becca Coughlin ‘99 crewing on Sunday. Drumm and Semmelhack teamed up in B division with Laura skippering, making an excellent use of their combined talents. Saturday was the high point of the season as they sailed a strong set of 12 races in medium breeze with consistent finishes in the top of the fleet and numerous bullets. Many thanks go to Eric Leitner, a Raritan Yacht Club member and experienced 420 and 470 sailor, for coming out to coach us this weekend. His advice and reassurance in talks after each race were immensely helpful in keeping speed and tactics on track but also in pulling the team together mentally. In 3rd place going into Sunday’s final 6 races, the girls were eager to maintain their position. Unfortunately, the light air to drifting conditions proved to be quite a challenge. In one moment of glory, Megan and Becca sailed low on the second reach pulling off an amazing comeback as they went from last to first in one leg, but the team overall lacked consistency. They finished in 5th place overall, but have seen their potential and are eager to work on light air skills. With sophomores and a freshman leading this team, it can look forward to great performances in the future.


PRINCETON SAILING’S MIDWINTER PRACTICE IN FLORIDA

by Laura Drumm ‘01 

Sun sand surf. The Princeton Sailing Team couldn’t have asked for any more during its annual intersession’s trip to Florida. The team reached its destina-tion, Palm Island, with eight of its new fleet of FJ’s and fortunately, without any driving disasters. A lightening storm prevented the unloading of boats until Sunday morning, but sailing got underway that afternoon under idyllic conditions. Temperatures and winds were spectacular, and continued on for the remainder of the week, with highs in the 80’s, little humidity and sunny skies making way for great sailing yet painful sunburns. Sorely missed this year were the coaching talents and anecdotes of Andy Gooding who was training for his Olympic campaign. However, al-ums Ken Turnbull, Frank Flannery, Mark Andrews, and Brandon Schwartz, found time to drag themselves away from the working world to prove that they had not forgotten their sailing skills or relinquished their college antics to suits and ties. As always, the hot tub was bubbling over, the barbeque flaming, and the residents friendly and welcoming. With the exception of an ill-timed game of Marco Polo, the Princeton sailors made a favorable impression on island residents, serenading a group of guests with a rousing rendition of Old Nassau and making friends with two South Carolinian vacationers, Mel and Bob, eager to relive their college glory days. Practice captain Chris Constant rallied the troops every morning for tactical sessions; afternoons were spent racing. Capping off a week of strong practices was Thursday afternoon’s regatta that brought out everyone’s competitive spirit and gave further proof to the fact that crews should not be allowed behind the wheel. As always, the Florida intersession trip both provided some much needed rest and relaxation after a month of finals and fostered enthusiasm for the beginning of a grueling (and chilly!) spring season ahead.


Regatta Update

Latest Results
Charleston Spring Intersectional (10th)
St. Mary’s Team Race (10th)
ODU Open (4th)
Area B Team Race (1st)
Princeton Women’s Spring (3rd)
Area B Dinghy Eliminations (1st)
Admiral’s Cup (16th)
Arrigan Memorial Regatta (8th)
MAISA Women (5th)
Upcoming Regattas
Cayuga Open
America Trophy