This past Sunday, NC State sailors travelled to Charleston, South Carolina to compete in the SAISA Women's Fall Conference Championships against other top Women's teams from SAISA North and South. SailPack women arrived in Charleston on Saturday morning for a great practice session in 10-12 knots of wind and strong current, building especially in the later afternoon. Sunday morning regatta conditions were sunny, very warm and very little breeze. With a delay of about an hour and a half, wind picked up enough to race, but the combination of a shifty seabreeze and ripping currents of an ebb tide, sailors had to be flexible and adapt quickly.
From the start, the host team College of Charleston Cougars established a lead in A Division, but especially dominant sailing by University of South Florida's B Division including four straight race wins kept scores tight all day. NC State women found a glimmer of success early in A fleet with skipper Katherine Kristoffersen ('15) and crew Paulina Spencer ('16) finishing the first race in 5th, but the talent and experience of the older established programs on the water proved to much for the Wolfpack in the long run.
NC State's Katherine Kristoffersen ('15) and Paulina Spencer ('16) first off the line in boat 1 in race 7A.
"It was a tough field on Sunday, for sure, but our women showed great determination and fight all day," said NC State coach Dana Magliola. "We're definitely focused on the things that went right for our women today. We were really pleased to see the aggressiveness of our women in both divisions at the starting line and the changes they made over the course of the day to remain competitive in very challenging conditions."
NC State was represented in B Division by skipper Nikki Palen ('14) and her crew Jill Tucker ('15). After the first six races, a storm developed at the mouth of Charleston Harbor forcing all sailors back to the dock. When the foul weather passed by, a final pair of races were completed in both divisions on a course in the shadow of the USS Yorktown. With wins in A fleet in the final two races, Eckerd College secured first place in the regatta by only two points over the College of Charleston followed by South Florida. These top three teams qualify to compete in the Women's Atlantic Coast Championships at Cornell in November, while NC State's women's squad finishes their inaugural Fall season 6th of 9 in SAISA women's competition.