In the world of college sailing, the month of April signals an intense consecutive weekend series of New England championship regattas. Coming off of a tough finish at the coed New England Dinghy Championships the previous weekend, the Polar Bears took to the water again last Saturday to compete at the freshmen and women's championship events.
The women's team headed to Brown to compete for the Reed Trophy, a conference qualifying event for the ICSA Women's National Championship to be held in Wisconsin at the end of May. Sailing in 420s on the Providence River, host team Brown won the regatta, with Harvard following in a close second.
The Bowdoin team of Charlotte Williams '10, Mae Speight '13, Laura Heyl '10, Katie Doble '13 and Coco Sprague '11 finished in 12th place out of a 13-boat fleet. A wide range of conditions, from big breeze and chop on Saturday to light and shifting winds on Sunday, made for challenging racing.
Despite an overall disappointing finish, Head Coach Frank Pizzo was encouraged by the team's performance at the regatta.
"Our girls have not competed in the Reed since 2004, so it was a big deal for us to be there. We had some good races and some not so good races, but it was a good weekend," he said.
"The women's event at Brown was very competitive," Pizzo added. "With 13 of the best teams of the country [racing there], at least 10 of them are ranked nationally."
The first years on the Bowdoin team also got their chance to compete for a New England championship, sailing at the 70th annual Priddy Trophy. The single-division event, sailed in 420s at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, featured the top first year skippers and crews in the conference.
At the Priddy, Jimmy Rohman '13 and Isabel Low '13 put together several top-10 finishes to finish in eighth place out of a 14-boat fleet.
Their score suffered from an early start in the fifth race of the day, resulting in a 15-point "On Course Side" (OCS) penalty. This penalty bumped the duo from an overall top-five finish at the regatta.
Rohman, who skippered the boat, was nonetheless pleased with the results.
"The freshman championship was an exciting chance to see my competition for the next few years," he said. "Isabel and I raced really well against some skilled sailors, and I hope to see them again at future regattas."
An additional squad of first year sailors competed at the Northeastern Invite, held in single-sail technical dinghies at MIT.
First years Alex Sutula, Ruthie Bodell, Zac Fox and Molly Clements finished in third place out of twelve teams, just behind MIT and Tufts.
Rounding out the weekend's competition, a group of coed sailors traveled to Rhode Island to compete in the Staake Trophy Team Race. The regatta, sailed in FJs on Mount Hope Bay at Roger Williams University, served a qualifier for New England Team Race Championships. However, Bowdoin's seventh-place finish was not enough to qualify for this postseason berth.
The team will compete in its final regatta of the season this weekend, the sixth annual George Morris Trophy Intersectional at Boston University.