ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The No. 7-ranked College of Charleston women’s sailing team won the SAISA Women’s Championship title hosted by South Florida over the weekend at the Magnuson Resort, site of the 2013 ICSA Spring Nationals.
The Cougars improved on last year’s third-place finish at the conference championship regatta winning a head-to-head tiebreaker with host USF. Both squads totaled 43 points across two divisions ahead of third-place Eckerd College (51 points), fourth-place Florida (81 points) and fifth-place Miami (83 points).
Sailors navigated through weather conditions which included overcast skies with post-frontal northerly winds on Saturday. Winds were 8-10 knots for the first six sets, but dropped to 5-6 knots after a short lunch break for the final four races. All courses were W3’s and W4’s.
After the first full set, the stage was set. The top three teams in the field, CofC, Eckerd and USF, all nationally ranked, were tied. The three exchanged the lead the entire day, with several nail-biting finishes. The stakes were enormous, as only two of the three ranked teams would qualify for the ICSA Nationals and ICSA Semifinals.
Junior Grace Lucas (Little Silver, N.J.) skippered A-Division to a second-place finish with senior crew Sarah Somes (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.) in races 1-8 and sophomore crew Morgan Buckley (Yonkers, N.Y.) in races 9-10, while sophomore Clerc Cooper (New Orleans, La.) skippered B-Division to a first-place finish with junior crew Elizabeth Chambers (Mooresville, N.C.).
Meanwhile, the No. 4-ranked CofC coed sailing team was not able to defend its title at the Admiral’s Cup hosted by the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., after their flight to New York was cancelled on Friday. No. 2-ranked Stanford went on to win the 15-team regatta.
CofC now prepares for postseason competition with the ICSA National Semifinals up next hosted by Hampton and Old Dominion on April 27-28 in Hampton, Va.