ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The penultimate Offshore Sailing event of the Fall Season is the John F. Kennedy Cup, emblematic of the National Collegiate Large Yacht Championship. The event hosted by the Naval Academy and sailed in their fleet of Navy 44's was held this past weekend. The Bears qualified to sail based on their third place finish at the McMillan Cup three weeks earlier.
After a great day of practice on Friday, the teams were welcomed with a class fall Northeasterly Saturday morning with wind speed upwards of 30 knots. With sail restrictions in place excluding the use of genoas and spinnakers due to the conditions, the Bears were more than comfortable all day. Utilizing the "wing on wing" technique with the spinnaker pole, the team finished 2,3,3 in the first three races in the ten boat fleet. Prior to the start of the fourth race of the day the team had an equipment failure that caused them to cross the line in ninth. After being awarded average points due to the breakdown, the team was third overall going into Sunday.
Sunday was an entirely different scenario on the water with light and shifty winds. The race committee was only able to complete one of the three scheduled races. The Bears finished eighth in that race and stayed in third for the Championship.
The team was made up of skipper Eric Gimple, tactician Richard O'Leary, trimmers Zachary Groce, Megan Wadleigh and Gregory Gaskel, Jesse McKnight in the pit, Bailey Bellone on the mast and Toby Ferl on bow.
NY Maritime won the event with 15 points, followed by Navy 17 and Coast Guard in third with 20. This completed up a great season for the Offshore Sailing Team who finished in the top three in all major big boat events they competed in.