Although it has two regattas coming up this weekend, the Georgetown sailing team is perhaps most excited to welcome back senior Evan Aras, an All-American who has spent this past year away from sailing.

The Blue and Gray will be splitting into two groups this weekend, as some Hoyas will travel to Charleston, S.C., for the Charleston Women’s Invitational and others will head to Annapolis, Md., for the Graham Hall Team Race at the Naval Academy.

But Aras, who earned ICSA All-American honors in the 2009-2010 season, is making his return to sailing after taking last season off.

“A former All-American is coming back to sailing after taking a year off, and it’s going to be important for him to get back out there and sail his first college event in a while and hopefully get back in the swing of things,” Head Coach Michael Callahan said.

The Hoyas hope for better weather this weekend, as they are coming off a pair of races in tough conditions. Despite the elements, the Hoyas fared well, and they will look to build on those performances this weekend. Adjusting to the team mentality will be the main concern, though.

“It’s a team race and probably one of the most important early season regattas of the year. We’ve got a couple sailors that haven’t been doing so well,” Callahan said. “In team racing, it’s a different discipline in sailing, where you have three boats on one team versus three on another. And so it’s very intricate, and there are a lot of set plays, and you really have to work as a team on the water.”

As part of the team racing, the Georgetown sailors will also have to adjust to new pairings on the water. The Blue and Gray lost several sailors from last season, including four-time All-American and two-time sailor of the year Charlie Buckingham (COL ’11).

“I think one of the issues we have is the group that will be sailing this weekend has never sailed together as a team before,” Callahan said. “It’ll be their first time, and so I think working out the kinks and the communication — and just everybody getting used to each other and the other person’s sailing habits — will be important.”

Seniors Rebecca Evans and Sydney Bolger, previous All-Americans, will have to take up leadership roles for the Blue and Gray. Junior Chris Barnard, who received a national sailing honorable mention his freshman year, will also need to step up.

Because of the need to acclimate to the new lineups and gain experience on the water as teams, Callahan doesn’t have high expectations for this weekend.

“We’re not going out there expecting to win. We just want to go out there and get better each race. But it will be an important early season test for us to see where we are against the top 10 or 15 teams in the country,” Callahan said. “It will be a good barometer regatta for us. If we win and do well, that’s great, but we have a lot of work to do, and chances are, we will lose our fair share and realize what we need to work on.”

The Charleston Women’s Invitational and the Graham Hall Team Race take place March 3 and 4 in Charleston, S.C., and Annapolis, Md., respectively.

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