SAN DIEGO, Calif.--The Coast Guard Academy Women's Sailing Team won the 2016 Sperry Women's National Championship for the Geral C. Miller Trophy in dominating fashion, finishing 40 points ahead of second place Brown University. This is the Bear's first national title in program history.
Racing began close to 10:30 a.m. in a westerly breeze about 5-7 knots. The temperatures stayed in the mid 60s all day with cloudy skies in the morning and some sun in the afternoon. The winds stayed out of the west around 5-8 knots with choppy water.
Going into today's competition the U.S. Coast Guard Academy had a significant lead over the rest of the fleet, as did Brown University behind them in second place. Boston University was also solidly in third place.
The close competition continued all day with a bit of a battle for third place between the University of Rhode Island and Boston University. URI made a big come back in racing today having finished yesterday in seventh place, the sailors worked their way up to third place for a short time, but eventually fell back to fourth place.
Brown University finished in second place winning the New England Women's Trophy.
"We are excited," says John Mollicone, head coach for Brown. "I think we exceeded people's expectations because these were not really our conditions," he says, "We like 420s and breeze, not usually light winds, chop and FJs."
"We were able to close the gap a little bit between us and Coast Guard," Mollicone says. "But it became pretty clear that no one was going to catch them and we were pretty comfortable in second place, so it took some of the pressure off of the racing today," he says.
The Sperry Women's National Champions and winners of the Gerald C. Miller Trophy is the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Coast Guard took the lead at the start of the regatta and never gave it up. The women sailed smart and fast and it paid off for the whole event.
"Today we were confident and sharp," says Brian Swingly, head coach for Coast Guard. "We didn't ever relax and we continued to take the event race by race," Swingly says. "Brown sailed really well today, so we were keeping our eye on them," he says.
"We have never won Women's Nationals," says Swingly, "So this is a special moment for us." "We have won regattas, but not a Nationals, we have been slowly building to this point and we feel we are here to stay," says Swingly.
After racing, awards were presented at the San Diego Port Pier, for the top teams and also for the first place finishers in each division. Nikole Barnes '17 and Anna Morin '19 won the Madeleine Trophy, awarded to the low-point A- division team. They finished with 60 points total, an impressive 50 points ahead of the second place pairing from Dartmouth College.
"Most races we would round the first windward mark in seventh or eighth and we had to work really hard and plan the down winds carefully," Barnes says of never letting up during the regatta. "We always followed our pre-race routine and it allowed us to figure out the racecourse before other teams," Barnes says, "Having more information helped make me less nervous during the racing," she says.
This concludes a historic season for Coast Guard women's sailing, the majority of which they were the top ranked team in the country. With the entire team returning next year, they will again be a favorite during the 2016-2017 season.
Women's Final Overall Results
1. U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 204
2. Brown University, 244
3. Boston University, 282
4. University of Rhode Island, 296
5. Yale University, 303
6. Dartmouth College, 306
7. University of Vermont, 317
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 319
9. Stanford University, 346
10. George Washington University, 359
11. Bowdoin College, 367
12. Hobart and William Smith Colleges, 382
13. Boston College, 391
14. University of Wisconsin, 392
15. University of California Santa Barbara, 400
16. St. Mary's College of Maryland, 404
17. College of Charleston, 408
18. Georgetown University, 436