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Sailing Team Hones Skills with Winter Racing Series

By Fran Charles
Team Coach

The women's and coed varsity sailing teams have been practicing their racing skills all winter long by racing in Scituate Harbor every Sunday between Thanksgiving and last Sunday. The MIT sailboat, aptly named "Intensive Care Unit," finish the 103-race season in eighth place.

Sailboat racing in the winter is called frostbiting and is conducted throughout New England and New York in 11-1/2 foot sailboats called Interclub dinghies. Similar to Tech dinghy, the Interclub has a little more sail area and a rounder bottom section making it prone to capsizing in breezy conditions.

Races were held over 18 different days this winter -- in temperatures ranging from 12-46F (-11-7C). The average number of boats starting every Sunday was 19 from a fleet of over 40 boats. Participation was on a voluntary basis but the salt water never froze and the blustery weather kept the Engineer sailor's skill levels up to speed, while their competitors got rusty on those frigid Sunday afternoons.

Team members who participated regularly were Caglasu Altinkopru '94, Mike Bowers '93, Tom Chisolm G, Elaine Heal '95, Paula Lewin '93, Peta Lewin '93, Adam London '95, Gina Middaugh '93, Eric Rueckwald '93, Patricia Schmidt '96, and Stefan Weissflog G.

Sue and Fran Charles sailed together to win first place overall in the season championship. The title marked the fifth consecutive year the coach and his wife have won the championship.