ORIENTAL, NC (September 19, 2014): The NC State Sailing team returned once again to the “Sailing Capital of NC” for the 2014 Oriental Cup Regatta! 2014 marks the 26th anniversary of this world-class event and there was excellent turnout from sailors, both novice and salty...we mean experienced. Homebase for the event was at the Oriental Marina Inn, where there was plenty of laughter, good food and a common love of sailing.
Members of the NC State Sailing Team gather for a photo before settling into Oriental.
Upon arrival at the waterfront, it became clear that it was going to be a perfect day on the water as sailors were already hiking out before they making it out of the shallows. For the dinghy fleet, the regatta consisted of five races with a windward-leeward course and an upwind finish. Teams had about an hour to warm up and prepare, which was much needed in order to adjust to the high winds and ripping waves. There was some fantastic sailing seen throughout the regatta and the finish hosted great competition against other sailors and challenging conditions. Despite the waves, the day remained mostly overcast with only a small spot of rain.
Racing downwind just moments before a strong gust would capsize the entire fleet.
The most notable aspect of the entire regatta was during the second race in the downwind stretch when a sudden intense gust capsized the entire fleet within a matter of seconds! It then became a race of bailing out water and regaining composure, both great skills for any college sailor to develop.
Sailors are geared up, the boats are rigged, and it’s time to get out on the water!
By day's end, NC State sailors were able to secure line honors and medal positions with senior skipper Daniel Ahern (La Plata, MD) and senior crew Austin Colquitt (Raleigh, NC) finishing in first, freshman skipper and Oriental native, Kara Wheeler and sophomore crew Matthew Dockstader (Charlotte, NC) placing second, and senior skipper Katherine Kristoffersen (Raleigh, NC) and junior crew Cole Barclay (Suffolk, VA) rounding out the podium in third.
Barracuda with Daniel Ahern and Austin Colquitt (L to R), rounds the upwind mark and prepares for the fight to the finish.
“Competition today was especially close with everyone sailing the course and conditions well," said Captain Jim Edwards of Bow-to-Stern Boating Center in Oriental. "We enjoyed hosting the NC State sailors and getting everyone out on the Oriental waters”
Jockeying for position at the start of a race.
Following the race, sailors celebrated great races by relaxing at Bow-to-Stern and taking out two of the keelboats for a cruise. As always, the hospitality, conditions and welcoming spirit of Oriental was a highlight of the weekend. Special thanks to Capt. Edwards for hosting our sailors during their time in Oriental!
Keelboat cruising and game faces...
* Special thanks to Austin Colquitt for submitting this article for SailPack.org.