November marks the end of the Fall season for college sailing. The leaves have lit up the skyline, then fallen and crunched underfoot as the BUDS sealed up the boathouse and reluctantly walked back down the esplanade for the last time in 2013.
Thus began the offseason. A time for drinking warm beverages, celebrating team holidays, and nursing our grades back to health after sailing hard all fall.
We gather each week for meetings and workouts. Meetings usually consist of team racing discussions focusing on different plays and mark traps, often leading to discussions about the rules. Soon we will also be planning our upcoming spring break training trip.
In addition to physical training and mental refreshers, some are able to find their way onto unfrozen water. A few weeks into the break, many of us start to get the itch that only sailing itself can satisfy. This time of year there are several opportunities to get out there.
The first involves travel. Loads of college sailors are drawn to Florida for the Vanguard 15 Team Racing Midwinter Championship, or simply “midwinters” for those familiar with it. This regatta is great practice in a boat favored by college sailors for its speed, its boat handling comparable to the FJ, and its enjoyable feel in the helm.
For those with big boat experience, Key West Race Week is another appealing option for January sailing.
For those of us looking for more frequent tiller time, there are (somewhat) local frostbiting fleets in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
In Massachusetts the Winthrop Frostbite Sailing Club can provide your fix. Located at Cottage Park Yacht Club near Logan Airport, competitors sail Interclubs and Lasers until April. This offers sailors both a single-handed and double-handed option. The club claims to be able to sign sailors up on the spot, supporting the classic motivational advice from Grant Cardone: “Just show up.”
In Rhode Island the Wickford Frostbite Association races Sea Dog one designs. Occasional appearances are made by Skip Whyte, who coached the BUDS from 1976-85, and again from 1992-95. The Wickford fleet is pictured below.
Fleet 413 is a competitive laser frostbiting fleet out of Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Competitors can store their boats, blades and rigs on site, then show up on Sundays to race a variety of courses (diligently maintained by the RC) against competitors such as Ken and Brad Reed and John Mollicone, all of whom are BUDS alumni. After racing competitors gather at the “International Yacht and Athletic Club” for drinks, free pizza, and a helping of sailing tales to round out the afternoon.
Whether on the water or off, there are plenty of off-season training opportunities out there. Just ask the BUDS.
- Erica Lush ’14