After a very short season last year due to COVID-19, members of the Rollins sailing team were ready to be back out on the water and competing this weekend. The Tars traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to compete in the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (SAISA) Open.
Head Coach Benjamin Chafee said this past weekend was “a difficult one,” as the SAISA Open “is one of our more challenging events.” The venue in Charleston is difficult to compete in due to the physical environment and tough competition.
In Charleston, strong water currents challenge the Tars’ experience on the relatively-still Lake Virginia. Because the Tars are not able to practice with strong currents on a daily basis when training, facing them in competition is an additional challenge.
On top of that, Chafee said the SAISA Open also brings in “many of the top sailors from across the conference.”
Saturday morning, the Tars encountered “light shifty winds with a 1-2 knot cross current,” which made it difficult to read the racecourse. A cross current occurs when the water is flowing from one side to the other.
That afternoon, Rollins moved to a different area to sail. This new location had a more consistent breeze, creating a better racing situation for the team.
It was a close race. Chafee said that the Tars “made significant strides to be more in the mix during the race [but] unfortunately, the results don’t show how tight the pack had gotten and how much closer to the team in the lead we were.”
Sunday, the second and final day of the meet, yielded similar results for the Tars.
Though the on-paper results were not quite what the Tars were hoping to receive, the team did not return to campus displeased.
Chafee is happy that the Rollins sailing team was able to compete, as this weekend was a quality learning experience for the still-young team.
The Tars still have time to regroup, discuss the successes of the weekend and the areas that need to improve, and get back out on the water in a practice environment before competing again.
The Rollins sailing team is hoping to improve by next week, as the Tars will travel to Jacksonville and sail in another strong current venue.