Twice for the Hoya
Twice for the Hoya
This year, Georgetown’s Charlie Buckingham recaptured the Morris Trophy for College Sailor of the Year. Along the way, he learned strategies for competing under pressure and realized the value of a conservative approach.
In addition to winning the Singlehanded National Championship, you also placed fifth at the Team Race National Championship and won your division at the Coed Dinghy National Championship. What did you take away from each of these different styles of racing?
I was very fortunate to have sailed all three because I took away different lessons from each of them that made me a stronger sailor overall. Fleet racing and team racing sharpened my abilities at starting, fleet management, and forming a general race strategy. Sailing Lasers contributed greatly to my sailing feel and fitness.
The Gorge was a tough venue for the Team Race and Coed Nationals with extreme current and a wide wind range. How did you prepare for these conditions?
Going into the event, I wanted to use the same conservative approach that I had been using all year. When we got to the venue and saw the extreme upwind current, I had to adjust my strategy a bit, but it was still pretty conservative. The current made every race reset at the windward mark, and the downwind legs became the longest, most important part of the racing. Keeping that in mind, I made sure I got off the line clean and tried not to make huge mistakes or foul upwind so I could get to the windward mark in a decent position. After the windward mark, I concentrated on setting the boat up well for the downwind, picking clear lanes, and being patient.
What did you do after Nationals?
After Nationals, I flew straight to England to compete in Lasers at the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth, England. When I returned home, I took a week off to take some much-needed rest and then started training in my Laser at home for the North Americans, Laser US Nationals, and World University Games, which are the major regattas I am doing this summer. Beside training and competing in the Laser this summer, I’m doing the NYYC team race with Tyler Sinks and Cy Thompson and am staying as active as possible through off the water training in the gym and doing fun cross-training activities outdoors, most of which involve the ocean or water.
How does your experience in college sailing transfer over to your current sailing goals?
I’m planning on campaigning for the 2016 Olympics in the Laser. A full-time commitment to training and competing is required to ensure a position and do well at the Olympics. The most important things I learned through college sailing that will help me during my campaign were the benefits of spending a ton of time on the water, the value of doing different types of sailing, and the importance of making good friends along the way.