Georgetown dug itself too big of an early hole at May’s team racing championship, finishing third, and a lack of wind killed the Hoyas’ comeback chance bid at the fleet racing national championship in June.

But a roster loaded with returning All-Americans places No. 2 Georgetown squarely among the early favorites to capture this season’s coed title.

A dearth of wind on Lake Mendota frustrated sailors all week in Madison, Wis., and the Hoyas struggled to adapt early, dropping four of their first seven races in the opening round robin. A late rally pulled the Blue and Gray’s record up to 8-6, just enough for a third place finish and a spot in the final round robin, before a loss to eventual champion St. Mary’s dashed Georgetown’s hopes.

“Team racing, essentially we were one race away from winning, which was tough,” Head Coach Michael J. Callahan said.

The still air continued to limit the racing schedule for fleet racing the following three days, ultimately cutting the competition short just as the Hoyas began making their move to the top of the standings.

Georgetown finished 10th in the B-division, but a strong performance from 2008-2009 college sailor of the year, Charlie Buckingham, working primarily with senior Alex Taylor, put on a show in the A-division.

The A-boat kept the Hoyas within striking distance by compiling only 53 points, 12 points ahead of the second-place boat.

The Blue and Gray sat 16 points adrift entering the championship’s final day, only to be denied an opportunity to close the gap when the final day was called off for a lack of wind.

“I was very confident going out that last day, the way that Charlie Buckingham and Alex Taylor were sailing in A-division, that we were going to win,” Callahan said. “I think it was a foregone conclusion we were going to win. We had momentum, we were going to win. We had momentum, we were going to do it, and then we didn’t get to sail any races.”

Buckingham and fellow senior Scott Furnary enter their senior year having won All-American honors last season; along with All-American sophomore Chris Barnard, the Hoyas have enough talent to add a fourth title to the trophy case.

Callahan expressed a great deal of faith in Barnard making a leap to the next level in his second season.

“[Barnard] was the only freshman All-American last year, and this year he’s going to get a lot more time to sail,” Callahan said. “I think he’s going to do a great job.”

Georgetown was ranked second behind unanimous No. 1 Boston College in Sailing World’s preseason poll released Aug. 24. The bar is set high, with a championship trophy as the season-ending goal for the team, and Callahan made it clear that his team will not be satisfied with a top-five finish.

“When you think you have the talent to win a national championship,” he said, “you want to win.”

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