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Conversations within the sport of sailing - Greg Wilkinson
It is often said how sailing is unique as a sport, where the opportunity is readiliy available to compete against the very best in the sport. Occassionally we get the chance to chat with them too.
(April 29, 2009) Following the 2007/2008 college season, Boston College (BC) won the Fowle Trophy which recognizes the school with the best overall performance in the six National Championships (Men's Singlehandeds, Women's Singlehandeds, Sloops, Women's Dinghies, Team Race, and Coed Dinghies).
BC is still on a roll as their #1 ranked coed dinghy team prepares for the National Championship Semi-Finals this weekend in Boston, MA. Scuttlebutt checked in with BC coach Greg Wilkinson for an update:
What has led to Boston College becoming a dominant team?
We have a deep, talented team that has bought into the idea that the team - not the individuals - win and lose events. We're able to make roster changes without egos getting in the way. Our sailors have learned to be good teammates.
What is it about BC that has attracted such depth?
We've had a lot of recruiting success; we've got the support of a large Division 1 athletic department which treats sailing like any other collegiate sport - this seems to be attractive to youth sailors who have chosen sailing as their sport. Within the team, we've been successful at creating a "team first" attitude, which in my mind is the key to bringing all that talent together to get the results. (there are 30 athletes on the roster)
How important is the rankings to your team?
The team knows that the real #1 team is determined on the finish line of the last race of the event they're sailing.
How do you feel about the semi-final format?
The format is excellent. Through this format, ICSA (Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association) has doubled the size of the Coed National Championship. Thirty-six teams now compete for the Championship, each of which can sail their way into the 18-team final. The finals of the championship are now more competitive than ever. It sounds like this year's semis will be amazing. We're looking forward to it.
Can you describe the anticipated conditions/setting for the semis?
It will likely be flat water with current. Although we sail on Boston Harbor, we've never sailed at the Fan Pier. Anything with a lot of west in it is likely to be quite shifty, as Boston's financial district and its skyscrapers are only a few blocks west of the site. It sounds to me like the atmosphere of the event will be very exciting. The Volvo boats are already there and receiving media attention; there's going to be live music, bleachers, vendors, etc - should be quite an event.
Who do you think is in the running for the sailor of the year awards?
Jane Macky from Yale was just named NEISA's Women's Sailor of the Year and I suspect she's in the running for national honors as well. On the coed side, I would guess that Charlie Buckingham from Georgetown is near the top of the list. But performance at Nationals will ultimately determine the winners - in women's and coed.
From Scuttlebutt 2828 - Wednesday, April 22, 2009:
TOP COLLEGE TEAMS ADVANCE TO SEMI-FINALS
By virtue of regional qualifications, the top 36 college sailing teams will now advance to the Western and Eastern Semi-Final championships.
The teams scheduled to attend the Western Semi-Finals hosted by Harvard at Fan Pier in Boston on May 2-3 are:
MAISA: NY Maritime, Washington Coll, Hobart/WmSmith, Pennsylvania
MCSA: Wisconsin, St. Thomas
NEISA: Boston College, Connecticut Coll, Yale, Harvard
NWICSA: Western Washington
PCCSC: Hawaii, Cal Maritime
SAISA: Charleston, South Florida, Florida
SEISA: Texas, Oklahoma
The teams scheduled to attend the Eastern Semi-Finals hosted by MIT at Fan Pier in Boston on May 2-3 are:
MAISA: Georgetown, Navy, St. Mary's, Old Dominion
MCSA: Minnesota, Michigan, Northwestern
NEISA: Roger Williams, Boston Univ, Vermont, Tufts
PCCSC: UC/Santa Barbara, Stanford
SAISA: Eckerd, U/Miami
SEISA: Tulane, Texas A&M Galveston
Each Semi-Final event will be sailed in FJs, with the top nine from the West and the top nine from the East to advance to the ICSA/Gill National Coed Dinghy Championship at St. Francis YC/Stanford on June 1-3.
College sailing website: http://www.collegesailing.org
Boston College website: http://bceagles.cstv.com/sports/c-sail/bc-c-sail-body.html
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