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Sailing Teams Suffer In Shifty Conditions

By Sheri Cheng
Team Member

The varsity men's and women's sailing teams sailed in six regattas this weekend, only one of which was held at MIT. Spotty and shifty winds all weekend challenged sailors and made for a slow weekend of sailing.

The Northern Series regatta was held at MIT this Saturday, after being moved from Boston College's new pavilion. John Beckos '01 and Nikki Spinello '01 sailed in A-division. After winning the first race, Beckos and Spinello placed 13th in their next race, and then 5th. By the end of the day, the wind had died on the river, and Beckos said, "The last race was won by the boat that God happened to choose to win. It was the worst drifter I had ever seen!"

Ian McCreery '01 and Sarah Chalos '01 carried the team with a consistent barrage of top five finishes. They finished in second for B-division with a total of 10 points. MIT placed third out of 17 boats in the regatta, loosing only to the Tufts and BC first teams.

Saturday's New England Series regatta held at Dartmouth started off cold. Chris Stow '00 and Misty Benham '01 sailed in the A-division. A good start in the first race, along with smart sailing allowed Stow and Benham to win the first race. The pair continued to sail fast throughout the day, ending up third overall in the division.

Alex Mevay '01 and Andrew Greytak '00 sailed some great races in the B-division, staying mostly in the top half of the fleet.

"MIT was leading the regatta going into the last set but a few slips of concentration and lighter breeze left us in third at the end of the day," Stow said. "A lesson we learned: have fun and keep the mood light we sailed much better when we were in a good mood."

The women's team sailed at a Radcliffe invite on Sunday. With the women's single-handed championships at Conn College this weekend, only seven schools competed. The weather was rainy and there was a light breeze in the morning, but the day finished off sunny as the wind also picked up.

Jessica Lackey '00 and Nannette Yang '01 sailed in the A-division, and Sarah Webster '99 and Sheri Cheng '99 sailed in the B-division. "Many of our races were photo finishes," Lackey said, "and so I stress the importance of sailing fast and smart through the finish line, and not just up to it." MIT placed a solid fourth among the competitors.

The Lane Trophy for team racing was held on Sunday at Tufts. Team racing is a different style regatta, where two teams are on the water at one time, each with three boats. The intent is to get a higher scoring combination of finishes than the other team. The number of wins and losses determines final placement.

Doug De Couto '97 and Carla Pellicano '01, Drew Mutch '98 and Anna Michel '98, and Beckos and Spinello represented MIT at the Lane.

Pellicano said, "What it comes down to is, to cover the boat behind you and try to take the boat in front of you; and help out your teammates, if you can do so without seriously sacrificing your lead." MIT tied for third place out of eight teams.

Sailors traveled to Coast Guard Academy to sail at the two-day Danmark Trophy. Sean Fabre '00, Jen Shapiro '01, Rob Damus '99, Jen Kelly '99, Alan Sun '00, and Madhulika Jain '00 had a tough weekend dealing with current, tide, and other unfamiliar conditions on the Thames River.

MIT also sent sailors to a Brandeis invite, held at Boston University on Sunday. Juan Rodriguez '98 and Ritu Gupta '99 sailed in the A-division, and Sasha Bouis '99 and Susanna Mierau '00 sailed in the B-division. MIT placed ninth out of 11 boats.