NEW HAVEN, Conn. — (4/27/14)—The 18th ranked sailing team finished 4th at the New England Championship for the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Bowl and earned a berth to the College Sailing National Championship. This will be the Bears' first appearance in the National Championship since 1995.
The 2014 New England Championship, which was hosted by Yale University, got underway on a cold and rainy morning on Saturday in a light and shifty northerly breeze. Coast Guard found these conditions quite similar to what they've been practicing in all season and got off to an early lead. Six races were sailed before the wind died, after which the Bears were winning by a small margin and more importantly establishing themselves as a contender.
After a long postponement on shore, racing resumed in a southeasterly sea breeze, which allowed the race committee to complete nine more races before sunset. Coast Guard continued to sail consistently and sat in 4th place overnight.
Save for the rain, Sunday brought very similar conditions to day one. A light northwesterly breeze built and shifted slowly throughout the day, providing ideal conditions for the final thirteen races of the regatta. The Bears remained consistent throughout the afternoon and never slipped outside of the top-5.
Going into the final B-Division race, Coast Guard was in 5th, only four points behind Brown University. Nikole Barnes and Justine Morrison, knowing they had already secured their berth to the National Championship, attacked Brown at the starting line, causing them to have an unfavorable start which sent them to the back of the fleet. At the finish line, Barnes and Morrison were 2nd with Brown in 12th, enough points to pass them and move up to 4th in the overall standings.
In A-Division, Avery Fanning and Robert Turley finished 5th with 105 points. Barnes and Morrison also finished 5th in B-Division with 97 points, having placed outside the top-10 in only three of their fourteen races. The team combined for 202 points and 4th overall, Coast Guard's highest finish at this event in at least 20 years.
Yale University won the 2014 CGA Alumni Bowl with 111 points. Dartmouth College was 2nd with 174 and Boston College was 3rd with 175.
The New England Championship concludes the regular season for the Bears who will now turn their focus to the National Championship. After four weeks of training at home the team will hit the road to Maryland, first competing in the College Sailing Women's National Championship at the US Naval Academy on May 27-30 and then moving on to the College Sailing Coed National Championship at St. Mary's on June 3-6.
Photo above by Cate Brown.