June 1, 2009
Treasure Island, Calif. - Boston College won the event, with St. Mary's, Georgetown, and Yale rounding out the top four. Charleston and Harvard squeaked past Stanford in the Gold Round of the top eight teams to take fifth and sixth, respectively.
On Friday afternoon, the Cardinal found themselves in a three-way tie with New York Maritime and University of South Florida for the last two spots in the Gold Round. After nine races and three attempts to untie the Gordian knot, Stanford and New York Maritime rightfully earned their spot in the final eight Gold Round.
Saturday and Sunday was a double round robin of the final eight concluding on Sunday with a final four. Stanford sailed some close races against the nation's elite, winning races against Harvard and New York Maritime.
The Stanford team was represented by skipper Cole Hatton '11 and crew Kelly McKenna `09, skipper Taylor Grimes '09 with crew Carolyn Prioleau `12, skipper Peter Stemler `10, with crew Laura Lilly `12, and crews Hayley Tobin `11, Hannah Burroughs `11, and Justin Doane '12 rotating off from the bench.
Fourteen teams that qualified from their respective district qualifiers sailed in ideal 8-12 knot conditions for three days of excellent racing at Treasure Island Sailing Center located on San Francisco Bay. With racing in Clipper Cove, teams were presented with a safe haven from the waves and current of the open bay, but still had access to the consistent breeze.
Familiar names are found ahead of Stanford in the results this year. Every team that beat Stanford this year, except for Yale, beat Stanford last year. Yale replaces Brown this year to round out the eight teams that have managed to finish ahead of Stanford in the last two years.
To be a top college team race team, a college must bring together a complete program. The discipline of 3 boats vs. 3 boats team racing is as complicated as the sport of sailing gets, requiring extremely active coaching including written playbooks, classroom sessions, and active on-the-water instruction. Each team in the top eight has six talented sailors, with at least three skippers with broad experiences of successful youth sailing. Without the coordination and building of teamwork throughout the season however, three boats can never succeed in a team race working independently. It for this reason that exposure to racing against other strong teams in the lead-up to post-season is critical to success in the national championship. Competitive team practices require at least six strong boats comfortable with the complicated game, in order to lift the team to the national level of competition. Stanford's consistent success in recruiting top sailors is a determining factor in maintaining a nationally competitive team race team.
Stanford concludes its trio of spring of national championships wit the ICSA/Gill Coed Dinghy National Championship co-hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club and Stanford University at the yacht club on June 1-3.