Story by Coast Guard Academy Sports
The Coast Guard Academy Women’s Sailing Team recently won the 2016 Sperry Women’s National Championship for the Gerald C. Miller Trophy in dominating fashion, finishing 40 points ahead of Brown University. This is the Bears’ first national title in program history.
Racing began close to 10:30 a.m., in a westerly breeze about 5-8 mph. The temperatures stayed in the mid 60s all day with cloudy skies in the morning and some sun in the afternoon.
Going into the competition, the Academy had a significant lead over the rest of the fleet, as did Brown University behind them in second place. Boston University was solidly in third place.
The close competition continued all day with a bit of a battle for third place between the University of Rhode Island and Boston University. URI made a big come back in racing, having finished in seventh place during the prior day’s race. The sailors worked their way up to third place for a short time, but eventually fell back to fourth place.
Brown University finished in second place winning the New England Women’s Trophy.
“We are excited,” said John Mollicone, head coach for Brown. “I think we exceeded people’s expectations because these were not really our conditions. We were able to close the gap a little bit between us and Coast Guard, but it became pretty clear that no one was going to catch them and we were pretty comfortable in second place, so it took some of the pressure off.”
Coast Guard took the lead at the start of the regatta and never gave it up. The women sailed smart and fast and it paid off for the whole event.
“Today we were confident and sharp,” said Brian Swingly, head coach for the Academy. “We didn’t ever relax and we continued to take the event race by race. Brown sailed really well … so we were keeping our eye on them.”
“We have never won Women’s Nationals so this is a special moment for us,” Swingly said. “We have won regattas, but not Nationals. We have been slowly building to this point and we feel we are here to stay.”
Awards for the top teams and the first place finishers in each division were presented at the San Diego Port Pier after racing was completed.
First Class Cadet Nikole Barnes, a senior at the Academy, and Third Class Cadet Anna Morin, a sophomore, won the Madeleine Trophy, awarded to the low-point A-division team. They finished with 60 points total, an impressive 50 points ahead of the second place pairing from Dartmouth College.
Barnes was also named the Quantum Women’s Sailor of the Year during the award ceremony.
“Most races we would round the first windward mark in seventh or eighth and we had to work really hard and plan the down winds carefully,” Barnes said. “We always followed our pre-race routine and it allowed us to figure out the racecourse before other teams. Having more information helped make me less nervous during the racing.”
The win closes out a historic season for Coast Guard women’s sailing, the majority of which they were the top ranked team in the country. With the entire team returning next year, they will again be a favorite during the 2016-2017 season.