Anchors aweigh in Evanston: Sports Shorts 5/19/06

By Ben Jervis

With the wind buoying them on, sailing made all the right moves as they closed their season on a high note.

In their last race of the year, the University of Chicago Sailing Team tied with the Northwestern I squad at 112 points for fourth place out of 12 overall at the “Wet Your Willie” Regatta in Evanston Saturday and Sunday April 22–23. Third-year skipper Rachel Moloney teamed up with fourth-year Jakob Hiller and first-year Kate Harney for 63 points to finish seventh in the A Division pool. In B Division, fourth-year Commodore Adrian Cook cast off with classmate Joanne Yao and first-year Julia Callaway for 49 points and a fifth place finish. The Michigan I sailors scored 57, taking first place overall.

Saturday’s wind conditions forced every crew to stay alert throughout the race, as gusts sped up from 5 to 15 knots and rotated over 180 degrees from westerly to northerly by the end of the afternoon.

“The conditions at the Northwestern regatta made for the perfect weekend of racing,” Moloney said. “The wind was light with stronger gusts and ridiculously shifty—the kind of wind that keeps us sailors on our toes, constantly making calls and changing tactics on the race course.”

While it’s not often thought of as a team sport on the level of football or soccer, successful sailing often requires boat crews that can coordinate with each other quickly and under pressure.

“It’s really important to get two people in a boat who work well together as a team,” Hiller said. “It makes all the difference on a day like Saturday where the wind oscillated a lot.”

Wind gusts were a little more predictable on Sunday, coming out of the west and slowly increasing in speed. After they reached 20 knots at noon, judges called off the 11th and 12th races in A Division before all squads could complete them. With the results for the final two eliminated, Chicago jumped from seventh to sixth place in the standings on the day.

“I’m really pleased with how we sailed,” said Cook of her final regatta. “We’ve come a long way in four years in terms of building up our club to be competitive”