College sailing spans the course of two seasons, opening in September and closing in November before kicking back off in March and going as late as June. Most teams focus the majority of their efforts on the spring season, which features larger regattas and Nationals. Don’t tell that to Bowdoin’s sailors, though. The team opened their fall season red-hot by finishing in the top three of all four competitions they participated in last weekend.

The team raced all over New England last weekend, sending boats to Maine Maritime, where they sailed in the Penobscot Bay Open (PBO) and the Harman Cup. Two more teams competed in the FJ Invitational at Harvard University, and another competed at the Women’s Toni Deutsch Regatta at MIT.

Racing in the PBO were Matt Lyons ’17 and Dana Bloch ’17 in one boat, and Courtney Koos ’16 and Olivia Diserio ’16 in the other. The team finished third out of fifteen. Harrison Hawk ’18, Jack McGuire ’17, Louis Frumer ’18 and Sydney Jacques ’18 took on the Harman Cup. Despite tough conditions on Saturday, the team raced well enough on Sunday to nab a third place finish. In doing so, the Polar Bears qualified for the New England Sloop Championships for the first time since 2004. The Championships will be hosted by Salve Regina on October 17-18.

Meanwhile, Alex Vasiliou ’18, Nora Cullen ’18, Louisa Lindgren ’19, Matt Kaplan ’19, Jake Griffin ’18, Phil Koch ’16, Ellis Price ’18, and Emily Salitan ’16 competed at Harvard. The team placed first and second overall out of fifteen. 

Also sailing on the Charles River were Erin Mullins ’16, Julia Rew ’16, Mimi Paz ’17 and Martie Ogle ’18, at the Toni Deutsch Regatta. The Polar Bears won this event, too, finishing first overall out of fifteen teams.

The success hasn’t affected Head Coach Frank Pizzo’s long-term approach to this year’s campaign, however.

“You know, our seasons are pretty long—we have a long fall season and then a bit of a break and then a long spring season—so I’m not really that worried about results right now,” said Pizzo. “I’m just trying to get our team to improve technique and find out who works well with who—those kind of things”

Nonetheless, the Polar Bears have showed a promising start to the season, with the end goal of returning to the national championships for the third straight year. With a lot of returners from last year’s Nationals team, Pizzo thinks the team has a strong chance of making it to Nationals again.

“We have a couple really good first years that have come in with a lot of enthusiasm,” Pizzo said. “All they want to do is learn from the more experienced people on our team. That’s been great.”

This year’s team features eleven first years and only twenty returners. Getting the new class integrated is one of the early challenges the team faces this season.

“We know it’s not going to be perfect,” Pizzo said. “Obviously we’re getting used to getting new people up to speed and used to practicing at our facility. We know it’s a process, but I would say so far, so good.”

The Polar Bears will continue their season next weekend with regattas at Connecticut College, MIT and UVM.

“It’s a busy time of year for sailing,” Pizzo said. “But we try to give lots of opportunities to race in September when the weather is still nice and maybe the workload is a little less.”