After three days of intense competition among sailors from 14 colleges, Hobart/William Smith Colleges from Geneva, New York has won the 2005 ICSA/Layline North American Team Race Championship. The Hobart/William Smith team held the lead entering yesterday's final day of competition on a win-loss record of 9-3 with seven races remaining to determine the 'final four' teams who would fight for the championship title.
By noon yesterday the Gold Fleet (the top eight of the 14 teams) had completed their second round determining that Hobart/William Smith, Harvard University, Yale University and the University of Southern California (listed in order of their respective Gold Fleet win-loss record) would proceed. The double round robin championship series was held under the watchful eyes of not only three judges per race who were on-call to arbitrate the increasingly competitive races, but also those of anxious teammates, spectators, and an ESPN camera crew. Handling the pressure with ease, Hobart/William Smith lost only one race while adding five wins for an impressive 13-4 record to claim the team race title for the first time in the school's history. Yale, USC and Harvard finished, respectively, with records of 10-7 each.
'Everybody's real excited about it,' said Hobart/William Smith Sailing Coach Scott IKLE (USA). 'The win is the culmination of a lot of hard work over the years, and the title belongs to the entire programme - including past members of the team.'
IKLE noted that graduating seniors John STORCK (USA) and Lee SACKETT (USA), and sophomore Trevor MOORE (USA), who skippered with juniors Molly LAWSON (USA) and Augusta NADLER (USA), and sophmore Amanda MARKEE (USA) crewing deserved equal credit for the win.
'We felt we were pretty fast now,' said IKLE who noted that, for this event, the courses were on the long side by ICSA standards. 'And with seasoned veterans who were patient enough to let things evolve, and good boat speed on a longer course, it all just worked into our style of sailing.'
Racing begins today for the ICSA/Gill North American Coed Dinghy Championship, from 8-10 June, wrapping up the triple crown ICSA North American Championships which are being hosted by the Southeastern Intercollegiate Sailing Association and Austin Yacht Club.