|Sophomore Talia Toland skippered Tufts in A division races.|
CAMBRIDGE – The Tufts University women's sailing team earned the 11th and final berth into the national semifinals with their performance at the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Championship on Saturday and Sunday.
The Jumbos will advance to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association semi-finals coming up May 21-22 in Newport, Rhode Island. The strong New England region also qualified host MIT, Brown, Dartmouth, Boston College, Yale, Harvard, Boston University, Coast Guard, Rhode Island and Bowdoin for the national semis.
At New England's, Tufts compiled finishes totaling to 140 in A division and 171 in B's for a 311 total. They were comfortably ahead of 12th-place Vermont (175-156-331) for the final national berth.
Tufts was ninth in A division, skippered by sophomore Talia Toland. She had freshman Ann Sheridan as crew for races 1-3, 8, and 10-16, and freshman Mallory Hood on board as crew for the fourth through seventh and nine races. They started the weekend with a third-place in the opening race, won the 10th and also had a pair of fifths.
The Jumbo B dinghy was 13th in their division. Freshman Abbie Carlson skippered while sophomore Lindsay Powers (1, 3-5, 7-9, 14) and senior Taylor Hart (2, 6, 10-13, 15-16) split the crew role. Carlson and Powers finished fifth in the fourth race, while Tufts also had two sixths during the weekend.
Saturday had a strong, moist southerly breeze that brought challenging conditions for the first day of competition. Swimming was abundant as puffs ripped through the course at times with gusts to 40 occasionally followed by 12-15 knot breezes. Rightees were strong with a 'wall effect' by the starting area but the leftees just dropped in a seemingly random frequency. Boston College was on top after one day.
Sunday brought drizzly skies and much lighter conditions than Saturday. A short postponement was followed by tight racing in 3-8 knots of breeze from the SSE direction. There was one race abandoned due to the breeze flattening early in the race and the whole day was needed to get in the final 12 races with six in each division.
The MIT Engineers grabbed the lead in race 15 from the Brown Bears and did not relinquish it. Dartmouth hauled in Boston College to take the final podium position. This was the MIT women's sailing team's first New England Championship in team history.