Consistency Helps Kings Point Win Navy Fall

BHall1021

Langdon Mitchell

With top-five finishes in all four divisions, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (a.k.a. Kings Point) won last weekend's Navy Fall Intersectional by a whopping 108 points. This event is particularly challenging for many teams because each is required to have sailors in two dinghy divisions (420 and CJ) and two singlehanded Laser divisions, a minimum of six is needed just to fill out each boat. However, some teams can lean on the strength of either their dinghy or single-handed divisions and still fair relatively well in the regatta. Both Yale and USC sailed very well in the dinghy divisions, finishing second and first, and first and second, respectively, in A and B divisions. Yale finished second overall in the regatta and USC, fourth, though neither team finished higher than eighth in either of the two singlehanded fleets. In addition to having to sail in four divisions, the conditions at Navy also made it very difficult for teams to remain consistent. A southwesterly breeze--which occasionally veered to the northwest--reaching up to 25 knots and typically blowing at 10 to 20 knots required teams to mix up their dinghy combinations, while the two Laser divisions had to tough out 20 races by themselves. The weather definitely took a toll on teams with the smaller and less experienced Laser sailors. However, this was not the case for Kings Point. Senior Peeter Must was able to hold his own in C division, finishing fifth, right behind Tufts junior Zander Kirkland (fourth) and Stanford sophomore Emery Wager (third). Georgetown junior Andrew Campbell and Harvard sophomore Clay Johnson tied for first, 39 points ahead of Wager. Campbell won 11 out of the 20 races sailed, but Johnson only had three races out of the top five. Campbell won the tiebreak. Kings Point freshman Chris Branning dominated D division, winning with 57 points. He was followed by Hobart senior John Storck with 81, whose second-place finish led the Hobart team to third overall. Branning won 12 out of the 20 races in this division and only had three races out of the top three. In B division, Yale freshmen Zach Brown with crews Meredith Killion, Benoit Bewley, and Sarah Himmelfarb won the division with 80 points, finishing 20 points ahead of second place, USC senior Harrison Turner with crews Melanie Roberts, Kyrstin Munson, and Ben Palmer. USC junior Mikee Anderson, with crews Vanessa DeCollibus, Ben Palmer, and Kyrstin Munson, won A division with 91 points and finished 22 points ahead Yale senior Stuart McNay with crews Sarah Himmelfarb and Benoit Bewley. McNay sailed a very solid regatta, but a few tough races at the start gave Anderson the room he needed to win the event. "At the end of the third race," said McNay, "they found their grove and were fortunate enough to stay in touch with it through the rest of the event." McNay further complemented USC by noting, "their heavy air crews were fantastic so when the wind built." When asked how his team was so successful in the difficult conditions, Yale coach Zack Leonard said that "it was windy, open water, and that is a condition we have often at Yale, so we were at home here." Similarly, Kings Point Coach Mark Zagol said that his team has "a good feel for heavy air conditions as the conditions at Kings Point are generally windy." Zagol also said that being "consistent off the line, finding lanes early and using their boat speed to sprint to the windward mark," were all skills that contributed to his team's overall success and ultimately a victory at one of the fall's most competitive regattas.