The Georgetown sailing team built upon an impressive start to the season, competing this past weekend in two regattas, the Faye Bennet MAISA Women’s Singlehanded Championship — where sophomore Haddon Hughes and junior Lola Bushnell finished first and second overall, respectively — and the Tom Curtis Memorial Regatta.
The two top-place finishers were both veterans to the 2016 Faye Bennet MAISA Singlehanded Championship and battled through weak winds and choppy water throughout Sunday.
Georgetown Head Coach Michael Callahan took note of his sailors’ struggle with the poor course conditions and consequently plans to make course management a focus in practice going forward.
“When the breeze gets light and a little bit shifty and tricky, it becomes a matter of race-course management as opposed to just speed,” Callahan said. “So, what they’re going to be working on is just handling how to sail light air, how to manage a shorter course and how to manage giving a good average finish in the lighter stuff.”
Callahan expects these adjustments to pay off in November, when Hughes and Bushnell make their return to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s Singlehanded National Championship. Last year at nationals, Bushnell finished in seventh place, while Hughes made history by becoming the first Georgetown sailor to win the event.
Junior Rose Edwards and freshman Macy McCann, who also competed in the Faye Bennet Championships, came away with notable seventh and eighth place finishes, respectively. Although these two athletes fell just a few positions short of qualifying for nationals, they showed noticeable improvement in their times over the weekend and still have opportunities to qualify for nationals in future events.
Meanwhile, other members of the Georgetown sailing team headed to the Washington Sailing Marina to compete in the Tom Curtis Memorial Regatta, named after the only sailor ever inducted into the Georgetown Hall of Fame, Thomas E. Curtis Jr. (CAS ’68).
Through twelve races, sophomore Campbell D’Eliscu, junior Roger Dorr and senior Emily Fung finished with a third-place finish in the A division after coming out to an early lead in the points. In the B division, senior AJ Reiter, freshman William Logue, and junior Meaghan MacRae made a run in their last few races to finish with a second-place result.
The regatta served as a first-round qualifier for the conference championship, with the top four teams advancing to the next round. Georgetown successfully clinched a ticket to the next round, placing second overall in the midst of a heated points battle with Old Dominion University, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Hampton University for the second-, third-, and fourth-place transfer spots. George Washington University finished well ahead of the rest of its competition, including Georgetown.
Although happy to move on to the next regatta, Callahan was somewhat unsatisfied with the team’s inability to distinguish itself from its top competitors.
“We did end up second in the regatta, which was fine. And we did end up qualifying for the conference championship,” Callahan said. “But it was closer than we would have liked.”
Early conference qualifiers place a lot of pressure on high-caliber teams like Georgetown to finish at the top, since the conference competition is expected to be generally less intense.
“It’s a different workout when only five of the teams are at a different level than the rest of them,” Callahan said. “If you finish fifth that’s essentially like getting last out of fifteen boats.”
The team will have more upcoming opportunities to gain more experience and prepare for high-pressure competition as they head into several of non-qualifier races in the weekend ahead.
The match-racing team looks to get its feet wet at the Naval Academy with its first competition this fall. In addition it will compete in, a second regatta at the Merchant Marine Academy in New York City, which serves as an opportunity to improve the team and assess new sailors.
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