Sailing Team Cruises
by Charlie Blasberg on Friday, April 25th, 2014
Through the opening weeks of the 2014 season, the Milton Sailing team has overcome initial losses to Manchester/Essex and Portsmouth Abbey to ride an 8-1 run into the O’Day Qualifiers this Saturday.
The sailing team had great expectations coming into the season, as rookie skippers Henry Burnes (IV), Eli Burnes (IV), and Christina Sakellaris (IV) were set to give the team the spur necessary to be one of the elite New England sailing teams. However, on just the Wednesday after returning from spring break, these Mustangs found themselves in a four-way meet against Wellesley, Portsmouth Abbey, and Manchester/Essex. Though the week of training in Miami had proven fruitful, Milton lacked recent experience against strong, outside competition, as they took beatings from both Portsmouth Abbey and Machester/Essex. A lucky break for Milton on the last leg of the second race against Manchester/Essex equalized the best-of-three series; however, Manchester/Essex proved to be too much for the Mustangs in the third and deciding race.
The Mustangs rallied around the loss and entered their next meets with something to prove. Nick DiGiovanni (II) led the team in a closely contested victory against Hotchkiss, a team that won third in the National Championships last year. The Mustangs then handled Maine-based Portsmouth, Falmouth, and Yarmouth for three quick wins.
Buoyed by coach Colin Smith’s team racing expertise and skipper Nick DiGiovanni’s consistency, the Milton team controls its own destiny from here on in. By beating Hotchkiss and Moses Brown, Milton has shown that they can hang with the best teams in New England; however, the difference between being respectable and top-tier is in a team’s execution. As the racing becomes more competitive deeper into the season, opponents’ mistakes decrease, which means that sound execution is imperative.
This week, the sailing team has taken a break from the team racing, which comprises most of the schedule, to focus on fleet racing. Taking place tomorrow in Marblehead, the O’Day Qualifiers are a fleet racing event that feeds the top two teams into the O’Day Championships, which doubles as the New England fleet racing championship. Milton has the right ingredients to do well this weekend. They just need to put them together.
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