There’s something beautiful about seeing sailboats race on the Saint Mary’s River with grace, finesse, and skill. Sailing is a grand tradition at SMCM, where the sailing team frequently places nationally and has produced 150 All-Americans. This fall, the sailing team is preparing for the start of another excellent season.
This past weekend, on Sept. 24 and 25, SMCM hosted the first major intersectional of the sailing team’s season. An intersectional is a regatta with a large number of teams participating, and it gave the Saint Mary’s team a chance to compete on home turf while SMCM showcases its campus, team, and facilities. Teams sailed FJs and 420s.
The team has competed in five regattas prior to their first intersectional and placed in the top five at four events.
Since sailing is a year-round sport where national competitions take place in the spring, the fall is spent honing important skills that will be needed for the rest of the year. Head Coach Adam Werblow said, “at this time of the year we are trying to get the basic skills up—concentrating on where the boat needs to be and how to do it.”
Director of Sailing Bill Ward says for now, “[we’re] not overly concerned with results, but more with process. People get caught up in results, in small things, and lose track of the big picture.”
Several sailors graduated last year, and at 25 sailors this year’s team “is the smallest [the College has] ever had,” said Werblow. The team is also composed of a large number of first-years and sophomores. Senior Co-Captain Gordon Lumphere said “we have a young team, but a team that has full potential, and experience beyond their years.”
Many sailors will also be switching from crew to skipper to fill roles vacated by seniors that have left the team. Werblow said these are team members that are “good sailors, but now they’ll actually be holding the tiller. [They have] whole new roles to learn in the boat.”
For the rest of the season, Werblow says the “most [important] thing we want to do is have consistent, single-digit finishes.”
Saint Mary’s finished in second place behind Connecticut College. In sailing, the team with the lowest score wins. At the end of the regatta Connecticut College had a total of 78 points with SMCM finishing 12 points higher with a total of 90 points. Boston College finished in third, Charleston finished in fourth, and Roger WIlliams finished in fifth.
Eighteen sailing teams from the United States and Britain attended the regatta, including St. Mary’s College of Maryland, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point, Cornell University, University of Virginia, University of Pennsylvania, Washington College, Old Dominion, Georgetown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Roger Williams University, Connecticut College, Boston College, Vermont, Boston University, University of South Florida, College of Charleston, and the British Universities Sailing Association Tour Team.