Queen’s Sailing steams ahead with seventh straight national championship title

Sailing breaks tie to take team racing competition in Montreal

Left to right: Nick Shute, Zac Baum, Alek Magi, Scott Gittens, Sam Bonin, Julia Manarin and Marc de Verteuil.
Credit: 
Supplied by Christina Black

After a few anxious moments waiting to confirm their win, Queen’s sailing team dived into a freezing St. Lawrence River this past weekend to celebrate their seventh CICSA Team Racing National Championship in a row.

Hosted in Montreal, the competition was scheduled to begin with a round robin between all seven schools with each racing each other, amounting to six races for each team.

However, the first day saw only six of the expected 21 races happen due to poor wind.  As a result, Queen’s, the McGill Redmen and the McMaster Marauders were all tied with two wins and no losses, leaving each team exhausted after braving the conditions on the first day. 

On the second day, Queen’s first race was against McGill. 

“Every year we’ve been first and they’ve been second,” sailor and Queen’s Sailing co-president Zac Baum said, adding that the two teams had built up a rivalry as a result. 

Although McGill had a shaky start, they pulled ahead of the Gaels to win their first race of the day. Fortunately for Queen’s, this advantage didn’t last long. Following a Redmen loss to McMaster, the Gaels were able to avenge their early defeat in the day and beat the Marauders. Due to this turn of events, all three teams were stuck in atie-breaker at five wins and one loss.

“So who wins, right?” Baum told The Journal. 

To break the tie, officials tallied the positions of the boats when the teams met. Queen’s walked away with 20 points, McGill with 21 and McMaster with 22, with the lowest number indicating the winner. 

They avoided another round robin with one final set — the best of three races between the two universities. Queen’s won the first with the team’s three boats placing 1-3-6 in a field of six boats with 

McGill at 2-4-5. Zig-zagging against the wind, McGill pulled ahead in the second race and left Queen’s at a 4-5-6. However, Queen’s managed to cover the McGill team after the course turned back into the wind, slowing their opposition and securing a 2-5-6.

As the boats bunched up and turned back against the wind, it became clear that if Queen’s beat McGill’s final boat, the former would win the race. Queen’s managed to turn the tables, taking a 1-4-5 lead as the McGill boat was left far behind in the water.

“We crossed the line and everyone had a mini-freakout,” Baum said. “We were far enough back not to know if they won the race or not. So we’re just waiting, waiting.” Finally, the boats arriving at the finish line yelled, “Did you win?” to the Queen’s boat. 

It had — Queen’s sealed the race with boats at 1-4-5.  

The team dived into the ice-cold water, swimming around and cheering for the win.

“To win CICSA, the big intercollegiate sailing competition, it’s a compilation of all our events throughout the season. Having our boys win at Team Racing Nationals was a huge thing,” Queen’s Sailing co-president Christina Black said. “We’ve done super well in all our other Canadian regattas but it’s all going to come down to the regatta this weekend at RMC.”

Until then, Queen’s Sailing can rest assured knowing another championship has been safely defended. 

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