On November 15, the women’s sailing team outdid last season’s stellar performance, finishing fourth out of 18 teams at the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championship (ACC) at MIT. The team’s highest-ever ranking marks the end of the fall season and sets the tone for a prospective national championship meet in the spring. The Polar Bears also competed at the Atlantic Coast Tournament (ACT) at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The coed team braved the tough weather to achieve seventh among 15 teams.

 The meets last weekend were the last set of regattas for the team’s fall season. 

 According to Head Coach Frank Pizzo, the Charles River venue can be challenging because of the buildings surrounding the river, which significantly affect the breeze direction. In addition, the less-than-ideal weather increased the unpredictability of the results.

 “It was just so windy. A lot of teams were struggling, and we struggled too, but relatively we struggled less,” said skipper Courtney Koos ’16. “A lot of boats were flipping over. People got cold and tired and got really discouraged. But we persevered, which is good.”

 “I think we had that advantage coming from Maine. We sail like this every day,” said skipper Erin Mullins ’16.  

The women’s team sailed ten races on Saturday and eight more on Sunday. Despite shifty wind patterns and harsh cold, A Division sailers put up good races with consistent averages, while B Division sailers produced more erratic results in the tough conditions. 

Pizzo emphasized the stiff competition at the ACC, saying that “all the best teams in the country are on the East Coast, with the exception of Stanford.” 

In this highly competitive environment, Bowdoin sailors navigated their way to the top four, just one point shy of tying Georgetown, which ranks third overall.  

The women’s team finished thirteenth overall in the ACC last year. This year, the team’s frequent practices and focus on fitness translated into remarkable progress.

“We’ve been building our fitness stuff for years now,” said Pizzo. “The strength coach here has got a really good program for our team. The team works out twice a week in the season, and we have a lot more work out of season.”

“We are working really hard off the water,” said Koos, who said that the team wanted to “make sure we are as strong as we can be, as mentally tough as we can be, and as educated as we can be about sailing.” She cited tactical conversations with their coach as an important factor in the team’s improvement.

“We’ve been practicing since August, so it’s been a long season. We sailed almost every single weekend,” said Mullins. 

Competing at the women’s ACCs were skipper Erin Mullins ’16, crew Dana Bloch ’17, skipper Courtney Koos ’16, and crew Frances Jimenez ’16. 

 A coed team sent to ACT also showed its potential by putting up good scores against 14 teams in one of the toughest events. The team included skipper Chester Jacobs ’17, crew Hunter Moeller ’17, skipper Matt Lyons ’17, crew Paige Speight ’16, and skipper Phil Koch ’15. 

 Pizzo was not surprised by the team’s strong results last weekend due to its consistent sailing throughout the season.

 “Our conference championship was four weeks before at Dartmouth. The team finished fourth there as well. They knew they could do well,” he said.

 In the wake of the their achievements over the past two years, the Polar Bears hope to carry their success all the way to nationals in the spring.