The sailing club hosted seven teams in its fall invite on Lake Pontoosuc this Saturday. The day was marked by a strong northeasterly breeze that provided a good test of skill for some of New England’s top dinghy teams. Perennial powerhouse Dartmouth College and local rival Amherst College provided great competition, but, in the end, it was the University of Vermont that topped the fleet.
The first rotation saw captain Brad Nichol ’02 skippering the A fleet boat for Williams with Andrea Lee ’02 as crew. Nichol and Lee got out to a great start in the first series of two races, trading a first and second place with Amherst while UVM took third place in both races.
On the B-side Eric Kerns ’03 was paired with Justin Davis ’05 for a well-balanced boat in the heavy breeze. Kerns and Davis practiced well all week and could have traded positions in the boat and been just as strong. They sailed two great races in the first series taking a third and a second, but UVM began to show its strength wining both races by a comfortable margin.
Going into the second set of races, Williams held first over UVM and Amherst, but Dartmouth found their groove and began to put pressure on the rest of the field. During the start of the third race, the wind went light and all six boats stacked up on the line in a hectic battle for good wind.
In the fray, Nichol fouled the Dartmouth boat and was forced to do penalty turns. By the time Williams got back into the race the fleet was gone and Nichol and Lee had to settle for a disappointing sixth with Dartmouth in first followed by UVM. The pair would not be discouraged, fighting back in the fourth race to win a close finish over Dartmouth while leaving the rest of the fleet in the dust. Kerns and Davis stepped it up for Williams on the B-side covering the majority of the fleet in races three and four, but UVM was able to get away and leave the fleet to try to chase them down.
The start of the third and final set saw UVM solidly in first and Williams in second, but Dartmouth was putting pressure on both teams from behind. Nichol and Lee, determined to propel Williams into the lead, took a few risks in the final two races that did not pay off, but still managed a third and fourth place finish.
Kerns, eager to give the freshman a chance at the helm, sat out the final races allowing Jason Davis ’05 to take over with Mark Burkhardt ’04 as crew. The pair proved their worth with a pair of third place finishes behind UVM and Dartmouth. Davis will skipper one of the boats next Saturday at the Amherst Fall Invite.
After a long day on the water the tally showed UVM on top with 23 points, followed by the Ephs with 32 points and Dartmouth with 47. The remainder of the field consisted of AmHerst (50), UMass (55), McGill (55) and Norwich University with 92 points.
A great time was had by all and the visiting teams could not wait to return for the Williams Spring Invite and the Little Three Championships in April.