At the beginning of the week, Wolfpack sailors learned that one of the teams originally scheduled to attend the Charleston Spring Intersectional regatta would be unable to, so we received a late invite and berth to join the field at one of the most highly anticipated and competitive events of the season. NC State was represented in Charleston during the two-day regatta in A-fleet by senior skipper Benton Morton (Wilmington, NC) and junior crew Jill Tucker (Jamestown, NC), and junior skipper David Rogers (Mt. Pleasant, SC) and sophomore crew Paulina Spencer (Raleigh, NC) in B-fleet with senior Dustin Simons (Durham, NC) traveling as an alternate.
“This regatta puts our sailors on the water against some of the top sailors and programs in college sailing,” said NC State Coach Dana Magliola. “We were excited to be given the opportunity to attend and compete.”
Sailors bundle together against the elements for Saturday's Skippers' Meeting as the wind howled.
With racing set to begin on Saturday morning, the only thing missing at the College of Charleston Sailing Center was Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel with his blue foul weather gear leaning into the wind. Consistent strong westerly winds and a small-craft advisory on the Cooper River ruled out any racing for Saturday so of course sailors took the opportunity to enjoy a nap, a visit to downtown or even a bit of studying.
Sailors gathering for Sunday's Skippers' Meeting
Returning for an early morning start, sailors were greeted by a more hospitable five to seven knot breeze and racing would be held on Crab Bank. As the sun came out and the day warmed up, the breeze gave way to calm air and a ripping ebb tide. The first races of the day were abandoned in both fleets.
"Need a little wind here!"
Everyone on the water settled in for a bit of a wait, rafting together with the coach boats to keep from being pulled out to sea with the ebb tide. In a show of good, Southern hospitality, College of Charleston dockmaster Ned Goss even took a few sailors ashore for a nature break, a rare luxury in college sailing. Of course, conveniently, everyone was already wearing their PFDs.
Eventually, racing began around noon as the wind began to fill back in allowing the ever-patient race committee to hold six races in each division. The Gauchos of the University of California at Santa Barbara started strong with bullets in both A and B-fleets, followed closely by the sailors from Coast Guard. NEISA’s Boston University Terriers, the home-team Cougars, and the road-warrior Badgers of Wisconsin also performed well throughout the day rounding out the top five finishers.
Both Michigan and Wisconsin teams drove thousands of miles uphill both ways in the snow
to Charleston for this year's Spring Intersectional.
After an early technical glitch, NC State sailors make their way out of the marina on Sunday
NC State sailors started off well in B-fleet with an 8th place finish and for the first half of the regatta, the Wolfpack kept close company with fellow SAISA teams Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Georgetown from MAISA. However, this early success would be prove to be the high water mark for the day with NC State finishing the day 18th.
"I'm proud of how our team handled themselves and sailed confidently throughout the day. We had a few bright spots racing and learned a lot from the many sailors we met and had the opportunity to get to know. You end up making a lot of friends on the water when you're rafted up waiting on the wind," said race team captain David Rogers. "I definitely hope we'll have the chance to sail in next year's Charleston Spring."
Downwind finish for an afternoon race.
Despite challenges from strong programs including Old Dominion, St. Mary’s College, Michigan, Jacksonville and Washington College, UCSB would win the regatta just six points ahead of the US Coast Guard Academy Bears. Full scores and further information can be found HERE.