The sailing team won’t be heading to a prominent North American championship later this month.
On Sunday at Cornell University, Queen’s finished fourth at the North Spring Qualifier, missing out on a spot at the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) championship — a tournament which showcases the top collegiate sailing teams from Ontario and the northeastern United States.
Instead, the Gaels will compete in the Leroy Grand Trophy, which features the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place finishers in MAISA’s North, East and Central regions. The competition takes place in Newport News, Va. on April 14 to 15.
The Gaels sent four of their 50 members to Cornell last weekend — third-years Roby Douglas, Arielle Morgan and Matt Sullivan and first-year Andrew LeRiche. While the team struggled at times with uncertain wind conditions, they were pleased with the effort.
“Considering we had an off-regatta and placed fourth out of 14 against American competition, we did pretty well,” Douglas said.
In sailing, points are tallied based on finishing order — the first team to cross the finish line earns one point, the second team earns two points, and so on, with the team accumulating the lowest number of combined points winning the regatta.
Teams are divided into A and B fleets, with two racers from each team competing in each fleet. Both fleets compete in several races, with all points totaled at the end to determine the standings.
The host Cornell Big Red won the regatta with 46 points, advancing to the America Trophy along with the Fordham Rams, who placed second, and the Columbia Lions, who were third.
Queen’s picked up 87 points, well ahead of their lone Canadian opponent — the University of Toronto Varsity Blues — who placed ninth with 151 points.
Sullivan and LeRiche competed in the A fleet for Queen’s, accumulating 67 points in eight races. Douglas and Morgan enjoyed a standout regatta in the B fleet, tallying 20 points over seven races.
In 2011, Queen’s qualified for the America Trophy, but was unable to attend the competition due to exam conflicts.
“It was really frustrating, especially because we didn’t necessarily think we’d qualify,” Morgan said, adding that the team took extra provisions to avoid similar complications this year.
Beginning next season, Queen’s will amalgamate the sailing team, a varsity club, with the recreational sailing club — the latter will serve as a feeder program, allowing novice sailors to gain experience before competing at the intercollegiate level. Douglas believes the move will help the team in the long-term.
“It will create a strong base, allowing us to pool our resources more effectively and act more efficiently,” Douglas said.
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