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2012 October - Collegiate Big Boat Sailing

I miss college. I miss sailing in college. During this year’s Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta, I was able to take a tack down memory lane. I realized that it had been a while since I’d thought of college big boat sailing. But, when Adam Loory asked me to join in the festivities this year, he mentioned that he was the first person to have competed in the Intercollegiate regatta and then returned as an owner, lending his boat to a college team. I maintain that I am the only sailor to have competed in the Intercollegiate aboard his own boat and returned to lend that same boat! I am sure that Adam and I will have plenty of follow-up conversations regarding these two distinctions…Incidentally, we won in 1996. I am hoping to do the same again in the future.

Attending the regatta this year brought back many fond memories of the fantastic times had while big boat sailing in college. I was lucky to have gone to Boston College and our Coach, Norm Reid, had a very cool Holland 40 named Face Off that we practiced aboard on a regular basis. Going to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT to sail aboard the heavy, unruly Luders yawls, racing in the Corinthian Regatta at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, NY (which would later become the IOR), heading down to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD to sail in the McMillan and Kennedy Cup regattas on the only-somewhat-less heavy, unruly Navy 44s, we knew how fortunate we were to have the opportunity to be a part of the great tradition of college big boat sailing.

Remembering what fun we had, yet how seriously we took on the racing, I was not surprised to see the manner in which all 47 crews conducted themselves, both on and off the water. It would serve many an adult racer to witness the competition that exists on the water between these teams. Exciting, close races set off by tight, efficient maneuvers. What’s more, as heated as the racing got, there was never a crude exchange of words, little by way of protests, and all competition remained on the racecourse. It was truly a breath of fresh air to be able to see great racing among gracious and affable crews.

This year, I had the Denison University sailing team on my boat. Sailing is a club sport at Denison and they are pretty new to the world of big boats (most of our crew had never set foot on a big boat, and some were new to sailing all together). What they lacked in experience, they more than made up for in enthusiasm. Although we didn’t do very well, we considered this to be a building year. The very young team plans to come back in 2013, give it their all and improve on their performance – what more could I ask of them?

When I return to the IOR next year…likely with the same boat, I look forward to the same brand of experiences that I have had in the distant – and now recent past; great racing, a fun and truly collegial atmosphere, catching up with old friends and making new ones – and who knows…maybe even a podium finish! Sure I miss college – who doesn’t? But now, at least I can revisit those great days again, even if it’s only once a year. And hey, maybe Boston College will return to big boat sailing in 2013…

Check out the coverage beginning on page 51. And next year, either loan your boat to the largest (and still growing) college sailing regatta in the world, or come down to cheer on your alma mater!

See you on the water.

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