The 2015 SAISA SailPack Women's Regatta would find perfect weather and fierce competition, going down to the wire and ending in a one point victory for the visiting Bulls of the University of South Florida over the host NC State Wolfpack. As NC State sailors arrived at Lake Wheeler early on Saturday morning to get set up for the 2015 SAISA SailPack Women's Regatta, a thick mist covered the lake. However, by the time the Opening Ceremony began about 9:45AM, the sun was out in full force and a building breeze started to fill in across the Southeastern corner of Lake Wheeler. Conditions would continue to improve providing a good day for racing.
Following an opening ceremony where we were pleased to recognize the generous sponsors for this event, TrustAtlantic Bank, Preiss Company, and Kind Snacks, the race committee briefed competitors and racing began. Not however before some great time hanging out with Ms. Wuf. (Stay tuned for Ms. Wuf's maiden voyage in an NC State Sailing FJ!)
Photos compliments of the NC State Sailing Club's own Kelli Whelan
Racing began at 10:20 with a windward/leeward course set up in front of the Waterfront Programs Center, perfect for shoreside viewing. Sailing in a combined fleet, the Bulls of the University of South Florida showed their speed early finishing 1, 2 at the head of the fleet with a broad gap until NC State in 3rd. The Wolfpack would find their groove in the second race trading places with the Bulls finishing 1, 2 at the front of the fleet.
Sailing for the home team in A-Fleet was sophomore skipper and women's team co-captain Kara Wheeler (Oriental, NC) and freshman crew Elizabeth Blenk (Youngstown, OH) racing in her first collegiate regatta. In B-Fleet, NC State sophomore skipper Valentine Mulliez (Marcq-en-Baroeul, FR) also made her collegiate (and North American) debut joined by veteran senior crew Jillian Tucker (Jamestown, NC). NC State would maintain a lead until the 5th race of the day as USF once again returned atop the scoreboard before a postponement and abandoned races offered a great time for a lunch break.
Returning to the water in the afternoon, the Race Committee was able to complete another two races in the afternoon. A second NC State squad, the Red Terror, enjoyed a strong afternoon surge led by junior skipper Jackie Welles (Oriental, NC) with the teamwork of senior crew Lauren Clemency (Calverton, VA) and freshman Katie Richardson (Chapel Hill, NC) in A-Fleet, and senior skipper Annalisa Kristoffersen (Raleigh, NC) fresh off a semester abroad and sophomore crew McKenna Marquart (Oriental, NC). The day's final races were completed with the visiting USF Bulls just 5 points ahead of the host NC State Wolfpack.
Sunday morning found even more sunny skies and ever stronger wind than Saturday. As the NC State's B-Fleet pairing of Valentine Mulliez and Jillian Tucker struck early with a first race win, followed by a win in the 10th race by their A-Fleet teammates, the SailPack once again regained the lead. A final push from USF featuring back to back wins by A-fleet in the final two races of the day gave the Bulls a 1 point victory over the host NC State Wolfpack. The narrow victory was well-earned and the entire regatta proved to be competitive. Full scores are available at http://scores.collegesailing.org/f15/sailpack-women/.
Presented with trophies designed, and 3D printed by NC State Sailing's own Mark Thompson, the teams celebrated a great regatta weekend and brought the event to a close. Congratulations to the Bulls of USF and thanks to our gracious sponsors, TrustAtlantic Bank, the Preiss Company, Kind Snacks, and Zhik, as well as NC State University Recreation, the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Chris, Ben, Christie, Travis and the rest of the awesome staff of Lake Wheeler, as well as all of the hard-working SailPack team members who put on a great event and regatta. Thanks to Ms. Wuf for making our event even more special with her awesome charm and school spirit. #GoPack!
We'd also like to share a special thanks to a great friend of the program, Laura Doupnik who travelled to Raleigh to coach the NC State Women's team during this regatta and has been helping to train and coach our women's squad for over two years in different venues. We're glad you could be here with us for this home regatta and appreciate all you do for our women!