The sailing team concluded its fall season with a pair of Atlantic Coast Championship regattas on November 14-15 after having qualified for them two weeks earlier. Seven Polar Bears competed in the Coed Atlantic Coast Championships hosted by Old Dominion University in Virginia for the first time in program history, and seven raced in the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championships (ACC’s) at St. Mary’s College in Maryland.
On October 31, the team competed in the Coed New England Championship at MIT, which serves as a qualifier for the ACC’s. The team finished seventh out of 18 teams and earned the final berth to the ACC’s.
On the same day, seven other Polar Bears raced in the Urn Trophy at Harvard, which is the qualifier for the Women’s ACC’s. The women finished the race strong, earning a third place finish out of 15 teams competing.

Jack McGuire ’17, Nora Cullen ’18, Dana Bloch ’17, Harrison Hawk ’18, Jade Willey ’17, Matt Lyons ’17 and Emily Salitan ’16 raced at Old Dominion for coed ACC’s. Strong winds allowed eight races to take place in each division on the first day of competition, while only four races were completed on Sunday due to a slow sea breeze. Bowdoin finished 12th out of the 18-team field.

“The team had a bit of a slow start but were able to improve throughout the event with better starts and smarter tactics,” wrote Head Coach Frank Pizzo in an email to the Orient.

At the Women’s ACC’s, Erin Mullins ’16, Ellis Price ’18, Olivia Diserio ’16, Mimi Paz ’17, Julia Rew ’16, Courtney Koos ’16 and Sydney Jacques ’18 raced for the Polar Bears. Strong winds prevailed most of Saturday, allowing ten races to be completed in each division, while Sunday’s racing took place in lighter conditions. Once again, the Polar Bears had strong races. Bowdoin finished third out of 18 teams, the best finish at the Women’s ACC’s in program history.

Koos believes mental toughness was key to the team’s success.

“I think that championship events are a much more mental hurdle than a physical or ability one,” Koos said. “It’s mentally preparing for the conditions and then doing the best that we can do, which is something I think we’ve gotten a lot better at in recent years.”

With the ACC’s marking the end of the fall competition season, the team will now shift its focus onto the spring. The fall season is different from the spring in that the team is most focused on integrating the first year class. This year’s incoming class has 10 sailors, bringing the team roster total to 32, the largest it’s been in recent years.

“We’ve been making a lot of new records for Bowdoin this fall, and I think moving forward, we want to build upon that and continue to play at that really high level and get new people on the team integrated into those high-level regattas,” Koos said. “We have a really deep team now, so we can send any one of four people to a regatta, and you won’t be able to tell the difference based off the results.”

In preparation for the spring competition season, the team has already begun workouts this week. The athletes will participate in lifts, speed training and team meetings to discuss tactics.

According to Koos, the spring is also a more fast-paced season, as there are only six weeks of racing, compared to nine in the fall. The three big conference championships this spring will take place at the Coast Guard Academy, Dartmouth and Yale. Dartmouth is hosting the coed qualifier for Nationals, and Yale is hosting the women’s qualifier for Nationals.

Last year, both Bowdoin teams qualified for Nationals. The women’s team finished 17th out of 18 teams in the final round, while the coed team finished 16th in the finals.

“Integrating [the first years] and giving people opportunities to get better, and also when it comes to championship season, really pushing and making it to Nationals are our goals,” Koos said.

Depending on the weather, the Polar Bears will likely begin their spring campaign on March 5 at Brown.