This weekend, the women’s sailing team hosted the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association’s inaugural Women’s Team Race National Championship at the Edgewood Yacht Club in Cranston, placing fourth out of 12 teams with an 11-5 record at the event.
Head Coach John Mollicone noted immense work went into the event. Not only did the team have to prepare to sail at a competitive level, but they also had to organize and run the competition, he said, adding that many members of the athletics community contributed.
“We tried to have it be mainly all women running the event and officiating. It was pretty close to 100% women on the water doing everything,” Mollicone said. “We really put a lot into our women’s program and our women’s (team) sailors, so we were thrilled to host this event.”
“When I think back on my time in college sailing, I’ll definitely remember being a part of the first women’s team race national regatta,” said Emma Montgomery ’22, a sailor who competed for the Bears this weekend.
“We were really excited because we were able to have some people come down and watch, so it’s definitely good to start getting a fan base for sailing” said Nora Ong ’23, who also competed in the regatta.
The distance of the yacht club from campus limits the number of spectators sailing competitions receive, Montgomery said, but the team “really appreciated” those who showed their support during the regatta this weekend, as well as those who helped put the event together.
Competing for the Bears alongside Montgomery and Ong were fellow crews Savannah Young ’25 and Madeleine McGrath ’22, as well as skippers Olivia Belda ’22, Blaire McCarthy ’23 and Caroline Bayless ’23. The Bears had a strong performance in the first round robin, ending with a 10-1 record after only falling to Stanford University.
From there, the Bears entered the top six round robin portion of the competition — in which the six teams with the best records in the first round compete — and they were in the lead. Despite initially beating Harvard, the Bears lost their last four matchups, putting them in fourth behind Yale, Boston College and Stanford.
“It’s really competitive, and all the best teams in the country were there, so it was awesome to be doing so well,” Montgomery said. “All the top schools are at the top of their game, so it came down to the last few races and we ended up finishing fourth, but I think that it’s only going to give us more motivation and fire to keep training throughout the next month before we head down to the Women’s Fleet Race Nationals in New Orleans.”
“You basically have to sail perfectly and make zero mistakes the entire event in order to come out on top,” Ong said. “After sailing almost perfectly the entire time, we just made a couple mistakes, … but we talked with our coach about trying to maintain composure after one loss, brush it off, and say, ‘It’s okay, we’ll go and get the next one.’”
Heading into the rest of their national competitions, Mollicone is hopeful that the team “learned a lot from how the end of that regatta was and how the pressure of the event and trying to win it all comes into play,” he said. “You’ve got to stay as levelheaded as you possibly can.”
The Bears are “hoping to get back to where we were” said Mollicone. “I think our team is excited for (the rest of the national competitions), and we’ll be working really hard toward that goal.”
Women’s sailing will head to New Orleans May 23 to compete at the Women’s Fleet Race Nationals.