Light and shifty wind, poor visibility in fog and rain and a strong challenge by Old Dominion University and Dartmouth College made the Spring Women's Intersectional Regatta at the Naval Academy over the weekend a tough win for the Navy dinghy team.
A total of 15 primarily East Coast colleges and universities sent teams to Annapolis for the event.
"There was no breeze up in New York or anywhere around here," said Navy coach Doug Clark. "We were hoping for 15 races for a full round-robin, but we got in 12 of the 15, and made the best use of the available breeze."
During Saturday's eight races, a shifty south to southwest breeze held at 5 to 10 knots through most of the day, Clark said. The A Division sailors competed in 420s while the B Division racers used Flying Juniors on courses set near Triton Point at the academy sea wall.
"The wind was light and pretty shifty, and then the fog would just come on down and set in at the weather mark," he said."We were trying to use the judges' boat and the mark boat as lead boats to help the sailors find the mark in the fog, which was pretty dense at times."
Navy's team was headed by Susie Minton, whose picture graced the cover of the January/February Annapolitan as someone towatch in 1992. She is a senior majoring in oceanography and a memberof the academy's prestigious Trident Scholar program, who hopes to sail 420s for the United States in the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996.
She had wrist surgery in January and was back on the water for the first time this year for last weekend's regatta, although her arm is still in a cast.
With sophomore Jen Jones as her crew, Minton showed the kind of top form and persistence that put her at the top of women's collegiate sailing last year and earned her three national championships and a nomination for the 1991 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year title.
She hammered out a solid 19-point win over the 14 other A Division teams in the 12-race series.
"The fog on Saturday made it hard to anticipate where the breeze was going to go," Minton explained. "After a while there was a pattern to it, but you couldn't see thewind on the water, plus it was raining, which also made it very hardto read the water and see the wind."
Minton and Jones aced five of Saturday's eight contests after taking third in the first race and finishing sixth and ninth in the final two of the day.
"We were able to get off the line well, and we had good boat speed," Minton said. "It got real trying downwind, when the puffs would come in from behind. We did real well upwind, and usually had a pretty big lead at the weather mark, but then downwind it would shrink up to a couple of boat lengths or less."
On Sunday, a light northwesterly held until about 1:30 p.m., allowing four more races to be completed in the Severn on modified triangle courses.
This time the A fleet used the FJs and the B sailors tried their skill in the 420s, and Minton and Jones added a sixth bullet, a pair of seconds and a third to their overall tally.
Although the fleet and race committee waited nearly an hour for the breeze to return, the air continued dead and the remaining races on the schedule were canceled.
"Navy was ahead overall, pretty much from start to finish," Clark said. "Old Dominion and Dartmouth were very close behind, though, and it wasn't until the last few races that Old Dominion seemed to sort of fall apart and wound up in third."
Navy's B team, made up of freshmen Lexie Bennett and Collette McNeill, and Angela Luzier, a sophomore, with freshman Nancy Delevan as her crew, were fifth after particularly close competition withPrinceton and the College of Charleston for third.
While Navy wonthe regatta largely on the strength of its A team work, Dartmouth and Old Dominion solidified their top-three combined overall standings with outstanding B-team sailing.
In this division, the team of Dartmouth freshmen Whitney Conner and Gingi Cabot earned a regatta low-point record score of 28 -- just half of the second-placing Old Dominion team's 56 -- for their efforts, while their A Division team placedseventh, six points behind Old Dominion's sixth-place A sailors.
Navy Women's Spring Intersectional Regatta
Overall (A & B Combined): 1) U.S. Naval Academy, 109; 2) Dartmouth College, 122; 3) Old Dominion University, 144; 4) Yale University, 159; 5) Connecticut College, 161; 6) College of Charleston, 174; 7) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 178; 8) Tufts University, 182; 9) Princeton University, 191; 10) St. Mary's College, 199; 11) Brown University, 205; 12) Cornell University, 236; 13) Georgetown University, 262; 14) Radcliffe College, 279; 15) University of Michigan, 286.