ANNAPOLIS, Md.--The sailing team begain their 2016 team race campaign with a 10th place showing at the Graham Hall Team Race hosted by the US Naval Academy, finishing with a record of nine wins and eleven losses.
In team racing, a discipline in which the Bears have slowly been climbing the ranks during the past several seasons, teams sail against each other head to head - three boats from one team versus three boats from the other team. Each college record wins or losses for every race they sail with the winner being determined by whomever has the most wins at the end of the regatta. As of late, the Bears have been dominant in fleet racing, the more conventional discipline where all teams are racing at the same time and earning points based on their standings in individual races. Coast Guard's depth in speed and talent has them back on the national team race circuit after many years on the outside looking in.
The Graham Hall Team Race is arguably the biggest and most competitive team race event on the calendar prior to the conference and national championships. Sixteen of the country's best teams were in attendance for the event, which began with an initial round robin where each team sailed against the others once. Coast Guard sailed strong, finishing with a record of 7-8 but losing some very close races in the final seconds, and missed qualifying for the top six by only one race.
The Bears went on to win two of their remaining five races in the consolation round.
Assistant Coach Chris Klevan said that he's encouraged with what he saw from the team, who's three starting skippers had never sailed a team race together prior to this weekend.
"We made huge progress in many areas this weekend," commented Klevan. "We were just a few moves away from converting several of our losses into wins. We'll work during the next week to clean some things up and will continue to improve in the weeks ahead."
The Bears are three weeks away from the New England Team Race Championship, which they will host at Jacobs Rock on April 9-10. Next weekend they will also be in action at home at the Friis Trophy Team Race.