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College of Charleston Wins College Sailing Women’s Nationals

After two days of challenging racing in light breeze, the College of Charleston came away as the winners of the national championship and the Gerald C. Miller Trophy.

May 21, 2021
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college sailors in Annapolis
College of Charleston’s sailors came out on top only 1 point ahead of Tulane on the final day of Women’s Nationals. Courtesy ICSA

The racing over the last two days brought light winds and shifty conditions. The first day was all about boat speed and the Boston College sailors excelled at this winning the day – although closely followed by the College of Charleston, Tulane University, Stanford University and the U.S. Naval Academy – in the top five.

The sailors completed 10 races in each division on the first day of competition and 6 races today for a regatta total of 16 races in each division. The sailors raced in Navy’s Z420s and Georgetown University’s Club Flying Juniors (FJs) on the Severn River. The Annapolis Yacht Club, Severn Sailing Association, Eastport Yacht Club and the Annapolis Sailing School supported Navy by storing boats and hosting four schools on their property each day to allow for proper distancing.

Going into the racing today the top five teams were close on the scoreboard. Boston College was leading the College of Charleston by 27 points, but today the conditions were shiftier and more dynamic and less about straight line speed, so the competitors saw less consistent finishes.

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In the second to last race of the day Boston College was only one point ahead of Charleston and Tulane was trailing by only six points. The regatta came down to the last race and any of the three teams could have won it. In the end Charleston came out on top only one point ahead of Tulane and Boston College finished three points behind Tulane.

Boston College won the Ann Campbell Trophy for finishing in third place overall.

“We had a battle out there,” says Greg Wilkinson, head coach for Boston College. “We have a young team of women sailors and they did a great job, we were so glad to be in the position that we were in and it may not have been the result we wanted, but it was perfect sports on the water.”

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“I am very happy for the ICSA to be able to have a proper double handed national championship and Navy worked very hard to make this happen and they did an excellent job,” says Wilkinson.

Sailing for Boston College was Colleen O’Brien ’24 with Michaela O’Brien ’24 in A-division and Libby Redmond ’24 with Katelyn McGauley ’24 in B-division.

Winning the New England Women’s Trophy is Tulane University finishing in second place overall.

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“Our team is thrilled to have closed out the championship strongly today,” says Charles Higgins, head coach for Tulane. “We wanted to stay loose and confident knowing it would be a long day, and the ladies really put together a terrific performance.”

“This is a great step for the program, and it took our whole team to get to this level,” says Higgins. “We’re certainly excited about the direction the program is headed.”

Sailing for Tulane was Ciara Rodriguez-Horan ’22 with Grace Siwicki ’22 in A-division and Caroline Benson ’23 with Andrea Riefkohl Gonzalez ’24 in B-division.

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The College Sailing Women’s National Champion and winners of the Gerald C. Miller Trophy is the College of Charleston. This is the third time that the team has won this title.

“We are stoked,” says Ward Cromwell, head coach for Charleston. “The regatta was really well run under the circumstances and despite Boston College’s boat speed and the threat of Tulane our team kept their heads in the game. These were not our conditions, but our crews did a great job of keeping the skippers focused.”

Sailing for Charleston was Paris Henken ’22 with Lucy Klempen ’24 in A-division and Marian Frances Williams ’21 with Roxanne Snyder ’23 in B-division.

No awards ceremony was conducted due to COVID restrictions, but trophies for the first place finishers in each division are awarded to Colleen O’Brien ’24 and Michaela O’Brien ’24 from Boston College, who won the Madeleine Trophy, for the low-point A-division team. They finished with 84 points, eleven points ahead of the second place pairing from Navy.

Caroline Benson ’23 and Andrea Riefkohl Gonzalez ’24 from Tulane University won the Judy Lawson Trophy, awarded to the low-point B-division team. They finished with 85 points, six points ahead of the second place pairing from Brown University.

College Sailing National Championship racing will continue with the LaserPerformance College Sailing Team Race Nationals which will take place June 2nd-3rd and the Gill College Sailing Coed Dinghy Nationals will run June 7th-8th also hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy.

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