2018 SailPack Oriental Intercollegiate Regatta Preview


This year marks the 4th year of the SailPack Oriental Intercollegiate Regatta and it’s shaping up to be the biggest one yet. With gracious support from individuals and businesses across the community including presenting sponsors River Dunes Resort and Alamance Foods, this volunteer-organized event keeps exceeding expectations and this year will be no different. With more than 150 college sailors and coaches registered for the event, it will be the largest-ever college regatta ever held in the Old North State, exceeding last year’s record-setting event. Teams from as far away as Pennsylvania and Florida will be competing including some of the nation’s best college teams. Seven of the top 10 teams in the South Atlantic conference will be sailing including top-ranked Jacksonville University and second-ranked Georgia Tech. From the Mid-Atlantic conference, six competitive squads will be competing including the varsity Washington College Shoremen and both the Maryland Terrapins, winners of the 2017 McCurdy Open, and the Virginia Tech Hokies, who placed first in the fall Nittany Lion Open, neither strangers to the podium. In addition to these programs and the host NC State University SailPack, other teams competing include Clemson University, Davidson College, Drexel University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Florida State University, Penn State University, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, and the College of William & Mary.


Competition at this year’s regatta will see 20 boats on a packed starting line and tight racing all across the fleet. With two divisions sailing, the teams will complete 15 to 20 short races over the span of the two-day event and the cumulative low score for the event will determine the winners. Races will be viewable on the historic Oriental waterfront from Lou Mac Park and South Avenue. Early favorites in this year’s contest are the Jacksonville University Fins, a varsity team and last year’s SailPack Oriental Intercollegiate Regatta winners. Their strong showing winning the prestigious Eckerd College Intersectional Regatta in St. Petersburg, Florida earlier this season and a podium finish in third at the 2018 Charleston Spring Regatta in Charleston, South Carolina are strong indications that they will be near the front of the fleet again this year. In the North division of the South Atlantic conference, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are just three points behind the College of Charleston Cougars, last year’s fleet racing national champions. The sailors from Atlanta are just off a win at the North Points IV Regatta hosted at their home venue of Lake Lanier. Look for a competitive entry from Clemson University, as well this year, with the Tigers sitting just one point behind Georgia Tech in the season standings. The visiting teams from both Drexel University and Virginia Tech, members of the Mid-Atlantic conference, will also be favored to place well. Both programs have been in Oriental for their spring break training and will have good local knowledge and experience to apply. Local knowledge is also a key advantage for the host team, the NC State University Wolfpack, who train regularly in Oriental, their coastal home. Conditions on the Neuse River are usually perfect for dinghy racing and the time the SailPack has spent on the water in Oriental will surely provide them with insight.


The event has also garnered national attention for the organizers’ efforts to include sustainable practices in regatta management. From paperless scoring and registration to banning single-use water bottles, as well as using the regatta platform to educate sailors and spectators about the importance of keeping our oceans and rivers clean, sustainability and environmental responsibility are front and center. “As sailors we recognize the importance of water quality, the cleanliness of the environment, and our close connection to where we sail, train and compete,” said NC State Women’s Team Captain Victoria Newberry (Soph., Dover, NC). Together with NC State University Sustainability and the Newport, Rhode Island-based Sailors for the Sea organization, the SailPack will certify this regatta as a sustainable event and a “Clean Regatta.” The commitment to this from the student-athletes and student leaders is very strong. Support for the Clean Regatta effort has also been provided generously by Deaton Yacht Service, this year’s SailPack Sustainability Sponsor.


Across all of college sailing, this event has gained a reputation as a competitive event with great conditions and even better hospitality. This year’s event even had a waiting list for teams registering. The outpouring of support and excitement from the community is a hallmark of this regatta and makes it unique on the college sailing schedule. There are few if any other college sailing regattas with more local community fanfare and involvement. Most of the time, college sailing teams travel to regattas, sail and then return home. They rarely get to experience the flavor of the host site, so this regatta, and the warm welcome they receive in Oriental is truly special. “Each time we return to Oriental, we are amazed by the warmth and great enthusiasm we see from the community for sailing and sailors,” said NC State Team Captain Travis Tucker (Jr., Boone, NC). “Being able to share this great place with the rest of college sailing is an honor for our program.”


This year’s regatta will once again feature a large community barbeque hosted at the Red Rooster Bar in Oriental with a North Carolina-style pig pickin’ and fixins, as well as a great performance by local favorite live band Saltwater Gold. The event is supported through ticket sales and sponsorships from Inland Waterways Provision Company, Inner Banks Sail & Canvas loft, B & B Yacht Designs, and M&M’s Café. All of the college sailors and coaches in attendance are provided with free admission so no one leaves Oriental hungry – a favorite perk of all of the college sailors indeed. The barbeque begins at 6:00PM on Saturday at the Red Rooster Bar, right behind The Silos Restaurant on Broad Street-Extended. Last year’s barbeque was a sell-out and received local feedback as one of the best parties of the year. Following the barbeque, Bow to Stern Boating Center, home of the dinghy fleet and opening ceremony for the regatta, hosts a large bonfire.


One of the goals of starting this event in 2015 was to bring young sailors to town and let them learn about the wonderful community and conditions in Oriental and Pamlico County so that they might one day return. Beyond this introduction, the regatta itself has become a strong draw for parents, spectators, and other college sailors who are not competing, but travel to the event to spectate and enjoy the hospitality. Great local support from the Pamlico Coastal Activities Council, and the Pamlico Chamber of Commerce help spotlight this wonderful gem on the Neuse River.


T-shirts will be available for purchase at this year's regatta. All proceeds help NC State Sailing put on this event. 

College sailing teams traveling to North Carolina for this event are excited about the regatta. “Of all the places that sailing has taken me over the past 40 years, Oriental is a favorite. NC State and the sailing community in Oriental have worked so hard to grow this event and their excitement and passion for this event is infectious and has spread.” said Jacksonville University head coach Jon Faudree. Cementing its title as the Sailing Capital of North Carolina, Oriental and Pamlico County are introduced to many college sailors during their visit to town for this regatta or for spring break training. Oriental has always put its best foot forward and makes a strong positive impression on anyone who visits.

The regatta begins on the morning of Saturday, March 31st with an opening ceremony at Bow to Stern Boating Center at 9:30AM directly following the skippers’ meeting. After launching boats, the teams will sail to the Neuse River and competition will begin shortly after 10:00AM if conditions allow. The regatta will continue until the afternoon with the final race of the day starting at 4:30PM. Sunday sailing will begin at 9:30AM once again at Bow to Stern Boating Center and racing will take place on the Neuse River adjacent to South Avenue in Oriental. Racing will end on Sunday around 2:30PM.

Live scoring for the event will be online at http://scores.collegesailing.org/s18/sailpack-oriental-intercollegiate/.

For more information about the regatta, visit: http://bit.ly/2018SailPackOriental.
For information about the BBQ and Celebration, visit http://bit.ly/sailpackBBQ18


Please note: This regatta preview article originally appeared on TownDock.net

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