Navy a perfect 13-0 in regional team races, advances to nationals

SAILING

April 15, 1993|By NANCY NOYES

Down the bay at St. Mary's College of Maryland last weekend, Naval Academy intercollegiate sailors added one more victory to the school's long-standing domination of collegiate team racing.

They won the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Team Race Regatta with a perfect score of 13-0.

The win qualified Navy, the 1992 defending champion in team racing, to compete in the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association Team Racing Nationals at Old Dominion University in June.

Host St. Mary's once again also became the only other MAISA qualifier for the Team Racing Nationals by placing second in the regatta with a score of 10-3, losing only those matches sailed against Navy.

Sailing for Navy were skippers Ryan Cox, a sophomore, alternating with 1992 College Sailor of the Year Brad Rodi, a senior, and senior Mike O'Bryan and junior Dave Fagen.

Rotating crew included seniors Paul Kenney and Akane Saunders; juniors Fitz Gentry, Melissa Jackson and Heather Keane; and sophomores Sean Fujimoto and Blanca Funes.

The St. Mary's team included skippers Chad Carleton of Severna Park, a senior, juniors Bill and Tim Healy, and freshman Mike Hare, and crew included seniors Barb Seal of Severna Park and John Wobensmith of Annapolis, juniors Karen Raley of Hollywood and Kari Warren of Catonsville, and sophomores Kate Drew and Chris Dyer.

Conditions for the event made the competition especially challenging, particularly on Saturday.

That day's competition began in a dizzying array of winds that started from the east, moved northeast, and died as fog set in and sailing was delayed.

About noon, an easterly breeze came in, and then moved steadily clockwise through more than 180 degrees during the afternoon until the air settled in from the northwest. At one point, racing had to be postponed because of too much wind.

A highlight of the weekend was the first Navy-St. Mary's encounter, said St. Mary's coach Adam Werblow, explaining that the two teams engaged in one of the most exciting team races he had ever seen.

"They put on a clinic," he said.

Unlike the better-known sport of fleet racing, in which each sailor or crew is out to turn in the best possible individual performance, team racing involves six boats, three from each team, with each boat's finish counted in the scoring.

Because the lowest total score per team wins, with numbers of points matching finish order, it isn't necessary for any member of a victorious team to cross the finish line first, or for a team to take all of the top three places to win, as long as the team's cumulative total for a match will be 10 points or less.

Team members often will sacrifice individual position to help a teammate under attack from the opponents, or to hold off a competing crew while his own teammates gain position.

The first St. Mary's-Navy contest became a textbook example of this kind of sailing by the time the Navy team held a winning 1-4-5 combination position going into the last leg.

The St. Mary's boats in second and third dropped back to pair off with Navy's fourth- and fifth-place boats, allowing the St. Mary's boat in sixth to move to the lead.

Seeing the situation and sensing trouble, Navy's first-place crew turned back to help its teammates and the competition moved into high gear.

The exciting finish saw the lead St. Mary's boat capsize on the finish line, forcing a sixth for that crew rather than the first or second it might otherwise have earned, and giving victory in that match to Navy.

Sunday's final round among the top four teams was sailed in strong and steady northwesterlies of 15 to 25 knots, with Old Dominion finishing third and Georgetown fourth.

Navy Dinghy Invite

In Annapolis last weekend, Navy's two entries finished first and second of 16 entries in the Navy Dinghy Invite regatta.

In A and B Division fleet racing in Flying Juniors and 420s, Navy sailors took both top spots in each division as well as overall.

After sailing two races Saturday morning in light air and fog, competition was postponed until the afternoon, when nine races were completed in a somewhat unsteady southeasterly.

The regatta's remaining complement of 16 races for each division was completed Sunday in a 15- to 18-knot northwester.

In A Division, first-place skipper for Navy was junior Marc Schneider, with sophomore Lori Stirling as crew. Sophomore Carl Smit was Navy's second-place A Division skipper, with freshman Karen Mazure crewing.

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