by Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
This past Saturday and Sunday, the 2016-2017 year for sailing began with the UMass Dartmouth ailing team competing in the regatta at Boston University, facing a strong headwind.
The sailing team consists of thirteen overall members, captained by seniors Kelsey Delosh from Boston, Massachusetts and Courtney Grippin from Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The team is led by Head Coach Jerry Jennings, and his assistant, Coach Luke Hubert.
Relying on primarily two boats known as the A and B boats respectively, the sailing team gathered at the regatta hosted by Boston and prepared to race along the Charles River against the other schools.
As the captains Delosh and Grippin began their race, they faced a strong directional headwind that billowed their sail and slowed the boat down considerably.
The team in the second boat, Isabel Rombult, a sophomore from Boxford, Massachusetts and junior Alix Blair from Gloucester, Massachusetts, also had considerable difficulty.
Due to injuries, Blair and Rombult were switched out for seniors Hanna Desilets and Michaela Carrier. The conditions on Saturday were difficult, with the headwind causing drag and adverse wave conditions with which to pilot the boat.
The weather only served to worsen on Sunday as well, with the wind speed increasing and causing further drag.
Despite all that, however, the two sailing teams persevered and managed to complete the race.
While the race did not cover the entirety of the Charles River that they raced on, the river itself is 80 miles long and covers much of Massachusetts.
Despite the length of the race and considerable weather working against them, Delosh and Grippin managed to finish the race.
As with any sport, much of the conditions and prerequisites for success are dependent on the weather.
Even more so with sailing, which requires so much skill and general understanding of the conditions of the waves, tides, currents, and even the wind.
All of these variables are factored into preparing for a race with sailing, and can influence the outcome even more than the performance of the sailors themselves sometimes.
A strong headwind like the one the team faced on Saturday that grew even worse on Sunday is notable for many dis-advantages it creates, for not only does it drag on the boat, but it also creates problems with steering and keeping the boat on a straight and steady course.
Combine the fact that in addition to the wind meaning the sail can’t fill out properly and turning the rudder various ways, the wind often runs in the same direction as the tide, meaning that not only would the team be sailing against the wind, but against the waves as well.
Both of these obstacles would be pretty difficult to surmount, and managing to complete the race and place is quite the feat in the face of all this.
It is a strong start and a herald to the potential success for the new sailing of 2016 to 2017 for UMass Dartmouth’s sailing team as they continue on in the season to go farther with the competition.
The sailing team’s next race is scheduled for Thursday, October 6, in Medford, Massachusetts.