Nov. 22, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- The 2011 Intercollegiate Sailing Association Match Race Nationals took place Friday, November 18 - Sunday, November 20 co-hosted by California Maritime Academy and St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco. The racing took place out of St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco Bay in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. The three-day event saw a number of different weather conditions including light wind, rain and a strong current. The event included ten teams representing all seven ICSA conferences across the nation. The regatta was sailed in J22s and each team had one skipper and two crewmembers on their boats. Match racing involves just two boats racing against each other at a time utilizing both course tactics and boat-to-boat tactics.
The first day of racing began with a southwest breeze 8 - 12 knots with shifts, a variety of puffs and an ebbing current. As the day progressed the current got stronger making pre-start techniques between the boats more difficult because they had to fight with the current and position themselves properly to beat one another at the start. The current played such a role in the start that at times boats were starting on port because they could not make the line on starboard tack, a highly unusual situation.
It was a long day of racing with the race committee and volunteers completing 45 races. The U.S. Naval Academy lead after the first day of racing with a record of eight wins and one loss, Roger Williams University was second with seven wins winning a tie-breaker with Tufts University who also had seven wins and Stanford University was in fourth with six wins.
Day two racing was postponed all morning due to a lack of wind. The breeze was only 2 - 4 knots, which was not enough for the boats to sail in given the strong current on the course. At about 2 p.m. racing resumed and the format of the regatta had to be amended due to the late start. A Gold Round Robin was eliminated for the top six teams, which would have determined the seeding for them in the quarterfinals. The Repechage round instead began the day's racing with the teams in 7th - 10th places competing for the last two spots in the quarterfinals. University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin advanced to the quarterfinals with the original top six teams.
The light winds continued and the current remained a challenge for the teams especially on the downwind leg where the current swept the boats sideways across the course.
The third and last day of the event sailors were again greeted by light breeze on the Bay and the usual strong current. Sailing resumed with the remaining races in the quarterfinals as boats fought the current and light wind. The teams that advanced to the semifinals were Navy, Stanford, Roger Williams and University of Southern Florida. In a repechage semifinal round the remaining teams sailed for 5th - 8th place. Simultaneously, a knockout round between Oregon and Texas A&M took place with the teams finishing 9th and 10th respectively in the event.
After all of the semifinals racing was completed, it was on to the finals with a match up between Roger Williams and Navy and University of Southern Florida (USF) and Stanford. After the first few races there was a large wind shift and some rain came in which caused the finals and petit finals racing to be postponed. With everything reset, the racing continued with Stanford and USF in the petit finals and Roger Williams and Navy in the finals. Stanford won the petit finals placing third at Nationals and USF finished fourth. Going into the third finals race the racing was close and Navy and Roger Williams were all tied up. The breeze had increased with the wind shift making for better sailing at this point. In the end, Navy took the last race winning Match Race Nationals and Roger Williams finished second in some fantastic sailing.
Navy head coach Ian Burman attributes their success to having a strong keel boat skipper Jason Carminati, who placed third at Sloop Nationals two years ago, and great crew work on the boat by Taylor Vann and Killian Corbishley.
"Really a great deal of the credit for our success goes to our assistant coach Brendan Healy who led the charge in match racing and was with the team every step of the way. It was a real team effort and we also had a lot of people practice with us and give us a lot of help so that we were prepared for anything at this event," said Burman.
The event concludes Navy's fall season.
# GO NAVY #