Maine Maritime Academy wins World's largest College Sailing Regatta

Maine Martime sailing Jack Forehand's J/109 Strategory to first in the J/109 one-design class and first overall in the 2011 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta.
Carter Williams
The Storm Trysail Foundation (STF) and Larchmont Yacht Club teamed up to run the world’s largest college regatta over the Columbus Day weekend, with 400 collegiate sailors racing on 47 offshore boats ranging from 35 to 44 feet. Schools came from across the country to compete in the placid waters of Long Island Sound off Larchmont, N.Y.

Three light-air races were sailed on Saturday, and the race committee started two races on Sunday but had to abandon each after the wind shifted too much. After the second abandonment the wind died away to nothing and never returned.

The overall winner was Maine Maritime Academy, which topped the eight-boat J/109 fleet with a perfect score of three firsts. (They also were leading the fourth race when it was abandoned.) The finish proved that the school is at the top of its game and bodes well for the school’s participation in the Student Yachting World Cup in France later this month.

The other division winners were the U.S. Naval Academy, which won both the 12-boat IRC 40 class and the seven-boat J/44 class; Tufts University, which won the five-boat IRC 35 class for the second year in a row; and first-time participant University of Southern California, which traveled the farthest to attend the regatta with their coach Mike Segerblom and won the 15-boat J/105 class in a tie-breaker with last year’s overall winner, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.

Even though no races were sailed on Sunday, the college sailors as well as the boat owners--who loaned their boats and served as coaches and safety officers during the racing--enjoyed a fun-filled weekend. 'This was a great learning experience for me and my crew,' said Connor Sestudies, the tactician for the Purdue team. 'It was a great opportunity to sail on these boats that the owners generously let us use. I'm looking forward to next year.' His teammate Matt Steiner added, 'I had very little experience on big boats before this event. After this weekend, though, I'm looking forward to getting into more races. This event definitely opened my eyes to the world of big boats, and I like what I see!'

In some cases, less experienced boat owners such as John Maltz signed up to learn as much as the college sailors, with STC assigning experienced coaches where needed. Maltz, who recently bought the J/105 Sunnyside Up, sailed with American University, where he once was a student, and had experienced J/105 sailor Mike Quaglio as a coach. Within minutes of the regatta’s finish, Maltz texted Regatta Chairman Adam Loory, saying, 'Great regatta; sign me up for next year--Mike was the best!'

Thanks to the financial support of the Storm Trysail Foundation and sponsorship from Rolex, Vineyard Vines, Caithness Energy, Safe Flight Instruments, UK-Halsey Sailmakers, Coke, Heineken and Gill, the regatta was free to the participants and the boat owners. Larchmont Yacht Club provided free moorings for over 30 visiting boats.

For complete results, pictures and video go to: http://www.stormtrysailfoundation.org/intercollegiate.htm. For results, go to http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=562