University of Michigan racer and former SCOTW Kirsten Corneliussen checks in from the Midwest’s first college regattas, sailed in Chicago two weeks ago and then U of M’s home lake a week later.
While the coastal college sailing teams began their spring season in the early weeks of February, we in the Midwest have to wait until our race courses turn to liquid before we can start pulling boats out of the shed. And thankfully, that day has come! The Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association (MCSA) officially started its spring sailing season the weekend of March 24th with the Robert Morris Invitational in Chicago.
The Michigan Sailing Team sent ten sailors to Chicago to fill two of the 15 berths. Racing was held right in Monroe Harbor in front of the Columbia Yacht Club, leading to shifty conditions and a minefield of mooring buoys to battle on every upwind leg. Saturday began with dense fog and light winds. My skipper, Matt Graham, and I took a bullet in the first race of the day, setting the bar high for us for the remainder of the weekend. As Saturday progressed, the fog began to lift, and the wind filled in more consistently, ending up at about 12-15 mph. We had a little setback when our mainsheet block exploded into plastic confetti, but I managed to do rig up a new one on the downwind leg and we finished that race in third. We rounded out the day in first in division, first overall. We were certainly feeling good at the end of the day.
Sunday looked more promising, with clear skies and temperatures in the high 60s. The wind was a bit lighter, making the competition a bit tighter. After a couple of close races, we managed to end the regatta first overall and first in our division. Not a bad start to the 2012 season!
This past weekend we hosted the Big Ten Team Race Regatta at our home sailing site. Minnesota, Notre Dame, Northwestern, and Purdue were all in attendance. On Saturday, I woke up to a collection of Purdue sailors on my living room floor and headed out bright and early to meet the rest of our team at the lake to set up. The wind was very light, but we managed to get 13 races off on the first day. Come race 14, Michigan Wolverines against Michigan (our second berth), the wind decided to shut off completely and instead of a team race against our fellow wolverines, we reenacted the Titanic sinking with a few capsize/turtle drills and ended the day smiling. At the end of day one, Michigan Wolverines (Matt Graham and I, Will Cyr and Evelyn Hull, and Ryan Seago and Amanda Baker) were in first overall.
Sunday turned out to be even lighter than Saturday, but we were able to finish the round robin and get in a sudden death Final Four. First we raced fourth place Minnesota and won, and Northwestern faced Notre Dame and the Fighting Irish took the second place seed. In the finals, Michigan Wolverines matched up against Notre Dame and we were victorious!
We couldn’t hope for a much more successful start to the 2012 MCSA season, and we hope to keep our streak going next weekend at the Jan Friis/ Lynne Marchiando Team Race at MIT [They didn’t win – ed]. Thank you to all the Midwest schools for close races both weekends and trekking out to Michigan for our event!