Team Race Quals (4/29/17 – 4/30/17)

The MCSA Team Racing Championship was hosted by University of Wisconsin, Madison, on April 28th and 29th. Seven teams battled against each other and the elements in a grand total of almost fifty races. The competing schools were University of Chicago, University of Minnesota, Michigan State, Northwestern, Marquette, and University of Wisconsin schools, Madison and Milwaukee. The teams were grateful for the PRO Mark Prange and Bill Groskopf, along with umpires, Mike Kasper, Dennis Bartley, Clifford Black, Geoff Pedrick, Dave Gorwitz, Dave Keck, Tom Atkins, and Whitney Kent for time and toughness in the cold.

Over the course of two round robins on the first day, the sailors endured 16-23mph breeze out of the north with significant chop. The competitors made impressive team racing plays, especially given the challenging conditions. At the end of the day, Milwaukee, Madison, Northwestern, and Michigan stood atop the standing and advanced to the final four. On Sunday, the wind slowed down a little to 7-15mph but the waves remained. Every team was competitive, with wins and losses coming down to nail-biting finishes. The Badgers started strong the first day, but were challenged by Wolverines, Panthers, and Wildcats on the second day. After some tough loses in the first and second round robin of the final four, they dropped behind Northwestern to a tie with Michigan for second. Michigan fought hard all regatta as underdogs, but their loss in the last race to Milwaukee cost them second place. At the end of the day, University of Wisconsin, Madison and Northwestern earned places in the ICSA Team Racing Nationals later this May! Congratulations to the team representing Wisco in Charleston: Charles Bocklet, Maggie Houtz, Erik Elliott, Charlie Kutschenreuter, Olivia Staruck, Alex Blair, Kate Klement, Korina Hendricks, and Thomas Kelly.

Coed Quals (4/22/17 – 4/23/17)

After an exhilarating afternoon of practice on Lake Mendota, the team started out for Evanston, Illinois. Upon arrival, the girls promptly booted the boys out of the van at a hotel and kept going to the Miller families house where they enjoyed snacks galore. Meanwhile the boys waited in the hotel lobby for their host, Wisco alum and current MCSA Conference Commissioner Brian “Guccie” Tobelmann, to arrive. The whole team enjoyed a restful night preparing for sailing the next day.
Saturday morning greeted the sailors with brisk temperatures, a 12-16 mph breeze from the northeast, and a lumpy Lake Michigan. Racing commenced at 10:00, sending A Division sailors Kate Klement and Korina Hendricks to meet the most joyful race committed on this side of the Mississippi. There were prevalent lefties and significant chop throughout the day but the team persisted. Charles Bocklet and Maggie Houtz rode the waves to “ooch city” in Divison B and the team ended Earth Day with a commanding lead. After a quick jaunt around downtown Evanston, including tapas and ice cream, the team retired to their respective housing arrangements for another relaxing night.
On Sunday morning, the regatta was postponed briefly waiting for the wind to fill. A breath of fresh air filled from the southeast and A Division completed their last set. B Division then sailed an extremely light wind set, but maintained composure and carried the team to victory. Heavies, Erik Elliott and Mason Engnes, unfortunately did not get to sail but continued to be the best pit crew in the ICSA, providing motivational quotes and keeping Coach Claire company on shore. The team finished 1st out of 10, qualifying for 2017 Co-Ed Nationals in Charleston, South Carolina! Go Go WISCO.

Women’s Quals (4/8/17 – 4/9/17)

Honey Badgers Kate Klement, Korina Hendricks, Andrea Sullivan, Maggie Houtz, and Carolyn Keck brought their skills to the 2017 MCSA Women’s qualifier hosted by the University of Michigan.  After checking on pier-in progress and a “quick snack break” in which Kate whipped up some scrambled eggs… the ladies ventured out to the ‘burbs (aka Monona) to pick up Coach Dave and visit his new puppy.  We arrived in Ann Arbor at the home of Wisco alum Brian “Gucci” Tobelmann ’16 who generously offered to host us this weekend.

Saturday began with no wind, and we waited on shore in postponement for a while.  By noon, the wind increased to 10-15 knots and 4 races were completed in each fleet.  We enjoyed sailing newer Zim FJs and relaxing in hammocks between sets.  The honey badgers ended the day in first place in both divisions with a comfortable lead.  After a long day of waiting and sailing, we took a quick driving tour of the Ann Arbor campus, realizing that much of it reminded us of home.  We returned to a delicious home-cooked meal of Spaghetti and amazing meatballs, garlic bread, salad, and extraordinary carrot cake.

Sunday morning, we were fortunate to have warm weather and great breeze.  Racing started promptly, so promptly that some teams had not yet reached the starting line.  It was great to see support for Wisco out on the water, with Gucci rocking his Wisco Patagonia swag despite being Michigan’s coach.  The saying rings true: Once a badger, always a badger.  As the wind steadily built throughout the day, we witnessed some capsizes and sailed the elusive W6 course.  The honey badgers persevered in the breezy and shifty conditions and ended the regatta in 1stplace with a commanding lead of 35 points.

Thank you again to Brian Tobelmann for your great hospitality!

3 Way (4/8/17 -4/9/17)

After a long year’s wait, and a mad dash to get the piers in the water in time to sail, it was time for the heavily anticipated Wisconsin 3-Division Regatta (3-way) this last weekend. Friday night was filled with 3 themed activities, which left the sailors well rested and ready to race the next morning. When we arrived at the course, we were greeted by some VERY bright sunshine and 20+ knots of breeze out of the south. Building further throughout the day, the puffs, known as “tech wreckers”, gave the C division Tech sailors (Zach “Turtle” Miller and Jonathan Thickens) quite a hand full. Despite breakages, frequent flips, and numerous other frustrations, they finished the day strong.  In A division, Wisco 1 (Charlie K and Mason) had a strong showing, building a picket fence, while Wisco 2 (Cailin and Charlie C./Maureen) finished in second. In B Division, Wisco 1 (Katy Z and Liz) had some GT’s and mems, enjoying Liz’s last MCSA regatta, and getting the green light to go for the W, finishing the day in 1st. Wisco 2 (Soren H. and Peter) battled back and forth with Wisco 1 to finish out the day in a close second.

Day two started out much the same, sunshine and heavy southerly winds, once again giving C fleet more than they had bargained for. Steadily diminishing winds throughout the day gave them some reprieve, however. Carrying momentum from day 1, Zach maintained excellent consistency and finished up in 3rd. Jonathan finished the weekend up in 5th, all while maintaining a stellar near 1:1, race:flip ratio. Taking over the tiller from Charlie K., Wisco 1’s new A skipper Charles and crews Mason and Olivia maintained their position, leading Wisco 1 (spoiler alert) to an overall win for the weekend. Wisco 2’s Cailin and Maureen sailed well in the lighter breeze, finishing third in A division despite interference by a rudderless (aka ruthless) tech. In B division, skipper Katy Z and crews Chris S. and Liz fought hard all day, ultimately losing the tie breaker for first, but their low points ensured they could kill the lights on the competition and hold on to their team 1st place finish. Wisco 2 (Soren H and Emma) ended the regatta in 4th after a great day of sailing. Wisco 2 ended the weekend in a close 3rd. Overall, both teams started off the 2017 season on their home lake in style and everyone had some good laughs watching the tech sailors fight it out with their boats as much as the competition.

 Special shout out to Noah and Tommy G. for all the work they put in coordinating a really incredible regatta!

Northwestern Spring (4/1/17 – 4/2/17)

This past weekend, Wisco headed down to Evanston, IL to compete in the NU Spring regatta. On Saturday, sailors were faced with tough conditions. After a long training week in Florida sailing FJ’s, it took the team a couple of races to adjust to being back in 420s. Although the morning breeze started off with a nice 6-8 knots, the rolling waves proved to be a challenge and as the day progressed, the wind got lighter and lighter. By 3:15pm, races were cancelled for the day. Although A division was able to get six races in, B fleet was only able to get off four and would be the first to race on Sunday. Noah Janssen and Bri Probst ended with a race win for Wisco 1 and Carolyn Keck and Emma Zalog racked up 3 bullets for Wisco 2! Morale was high and the team ended the night eating deep-dish pizza at Giordano’s and sleeping at freshman Logan Pearlman’s house near the Northwestern Sailing Center.

On Sunday, there was a short on-shore postponement due to the light breeze. As soon as the wind filled in a little bit, competitors in B-division were sent out to finish races 5 and 6. Unfortunately, the breeze completely shut off after the sailors were sent out, so races were postponed on the water and did not resume until 11am. Due to a potential storm rolling in, the wind was very shifty and the course had to be re-set many times. After a lot of patience and hard work from PRO’s Jon and Jess Ledsworth, B-divison was able to get off two races in wind conditions of about 3-5 knots. For the final rotation, A-division was able to get off their seventh race before 1pm and B-division followed shortly after. Securing the first place spot for Wisco 1, Noah Janssen and Bri Probst finished the day with two more race wins. Despite tough conditions and adjusting to the 420s again, Wisco ended the weekend with great results. Carolyn Keck and Noah Janssen took first place in their respective A and B divisions, Wisco 1 (Charlie Kutsch and Noah Janssen) took first place overall, and Wisco 2 (Carolyn Keck and Katy Zimmerman) took third place! Overall, it was a super fun weekend and a great way to celebrate both Charlie and Noah’s 20th birthdays! Go Go Wisco!

Friis Team Race (3/25/17 – 3/26/17)

At 3:30 a.m., the alarms rang throughout the house in Indian Rocks, Florida. Nine brave sailors and two angels awoke to begin a travel day to remember. Skippers Charles Bocklet (sr.), Noah Janssen (so.), and Charlie Kutschenreuter (so.) along with crews Maggie Houtz (so.), Erik Elliott (sr.), Olivia Staruck (fr.), Mason Engnes (sr.), Brianna Probst (fr.), and Alex Blair (jr.) were escorted to the Tampa airport by the lovely Kate Klement and Korina Hendricks in order to catch their 5:50 am flight. After a brief layover in Indianapolis, the sailors arrived in Boston and spent a couple of hours touring the city guided by Alex Blair’s kind aunt and grandmother. Next, the sailors hopped on a train for New London, Connecticut. The groggy sailors quite nearly missed their stop, but upon their arrival, CJ and Kimball Bocklet (parents of Charles Bocklet) were waiting with vehicles which they graciously allowed the sailors to use throughout the weekend. The exhausted sailors were surprised by a stop at Mia’s, the best café in all of Connecticut, where they were spoiled with delicious appetizers and refreshments. The stop revitalized the team and immediately the sailors were broken out of their zombie-like travel state. After a thirty-minute car ride, they arrived at Mia and Dean’s house (the owners of the café) where they would ultimately be staying for the duration of the regatta. Planes, trains, and automobiles were all required for the Badgers to complete their travels, needless to say, every Wisco sailor slept well that night.

Despite the tragic loss of the Badger’s basketball team the night prior, team morale was high for the first day of sailing at the Jan T. Friis Trophy, a team race regatta hosted by the Coast Guard Academy. Temperatures were low and so was the wind as the team arrived at the sight. Luckily, after about two hours of marginal conditions, the wind picked up and the race committee began to crank out races. The competition was fierce as the badgers competed against the A squads from Yale, Boston College, Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Tufts, Hobart, Roger Williams, Coast Guard and Boston University. With this regatta being Noah, Bri, Olivia, and Alex’s first ICSA team racing experience, there were many learning moments taken away from day one. Noah was quoted as saying “It was definitely a learning experience facing some stiff competition. Moving forward, I will look to improve my starts and work on better predicting situations and plays other teams want to make so I can be more proactive on the race course.” Although the results for the Badgers weren’t phenomenal, the experience gained from day one was invaluable.

Day two brought even colder temperatures, just above freezing, and marginal conditions once again. The majority of the morning was spent floating around in the freezing rain, but finally, after a long postponement, the breeze filled in for the last two hours of the day. The team was really starting to get themselves in the mix on day two and their races were much closer. Ultimately, Wisco was able to finish tied for ninth with Boston University to cap the weekend of great team racing action. All the sailors look forward to taking all their lessons learned and applying them to training this spring on Mendota for a run at Nationals.

All the Badgers in attendance at the regatta would like to sincerely thank the Bocklet’s for everything they did to spoil the team over the weekend. They supplied us dinner every night, transportation, lunches, snacks, housing and cheered us on from the shore. Without them the experience would not have been the same! Also contributing was Mia and Dean who allowed us to stay in their house and the family of Alex Blair who toured us through Boston, supplied us with treats, and cheered us on from the shore. We are all extremely grateful for everyone who helped support us! GO GO WISCO!

St. Mary’s Women’s Intersectional (3/18/17 – 3/19/17)

Departure time was supposed to be 7:30 PM on Thursday evening, until we received a daunting text from Kate Klement, saying we might not even have a fleet vehicle.  Just as morale was getting to its lowest point and we thought we were going to have to drive 18 hours on Friday, Laurel Stutz used her power and helped us obtain the “Emergency Fleet Vehicle.”  We were on the road by 9PM, and made it to Chicago to spend the night.  The next day, we hit the road at 6 am to make our way to St. Mary’s “City.” Saturday, we arrived at the site to no wind, and were held on shore for a considerable amount of time, where we livestreamed and caught up with old sailing friends.  The breeze started to fill, so they sent us out at around noon in the hopes of getting a few races off.  The wind defied the forecast, and the right side was favored all day.  After tuning in to this, both Kate Klement and Korina Hendricks in A-Division, and Annie Sullivan and Maggie Houtz in B-Division, were able to hang with the top half of the fleet and pull of numerous top-10 finishes.  Saturday night, we went to the local Ruby Tuesday’s, and fueled up for Sunday, because it was “gonna be windy.”  When we woke on Sunday morning, it was blizzarding outside our hotel room window, so we bundled up and were ready to hop in the drysuits for our second day of racing.  At the sailing center, the wind was gusting between 15-20 mph, and was coming from an unstable direction which made the racecourse very shifty.  It was especially janky up by the top mark because it was tucked up close to the shore, but our sailors timed the lifts well and were able to round in the top half of the fleet for a good majority of the races.  Sophomore Carolyn Keck made her sailing debut again on Sunday after many months away due to injury, and was happy to get back out on the water, especially in the big breeze.  After a long cold day of racing, the Honey Badgers finished in 12th and were excited to hit the road to meet up with the rest of the team in Florida for Spring Break.

Charleston Coed Intersectional (3/11/17 – 3/12/17)

A group of six Wisco sailors made their way to Charleston, South Carolina for the first coed intersectional of the year. After a long 17 hour drive to warmer weather and open water, the Wisco team arrived in Charleston just in time to catch the end of the Wisconsin vs Indiana basketball game at a local sports bar. We set up camp at a Days Inn and after a run in with a few cockroaches and a quick check for bed bugs, the team settled down for the night. When we got to the regatta site in the morning we were met with sunny and 65 degree weather and breeze from 5-10 mph. A fleet consisted of Charles Bocklet and Maggie Houtz sailing in 420s, while B fleet Charlie Kutschenreuter and Olivia Staruck sailed in FJs. All the sailors worked on getting their sea legs back and testing the ripping current. We sailed 2 races in each division in the morning despite moving the course multiple times because of the wind shadow that the aircraft carrier the Yorktown provides. After a short lunch break, both A and B division headed back out onto the Cooper River to sail 8 more races each in puffy breeze and lots of current. After the long day on the water, we made our way to downtown Charleston to check out the town. We ended the night with Italian food and fro-yo after a hard fought day of racing. On Sunday we were met with temps in the 40s, lots of wind, and a little rain. Thomas Kelly sailed with Charles in A fleet in FJs and Mason Engnes sailed with Charlie in B fleet in 420s. Both A and B fleet put up solid finishes in the heavy breeze and managed to stay warm with quick breaks on shore. In the afternoon, the wind picked up even more, and the FJs were brought in and only 420s were sailed in order to minimize capsizes and breakdowns. The chilly temps made us feel like we weren’t too far from Wisconsin, but thankfully a kind alumni (Kirstin Reeser) brought us hot chocolate and pastries to boost our energy and warm us up. 7 races were sailed on Sunday and Wisco put up solid finishes and was able to shake the dust off from the long winter. We hit the road again and started the long drive back to Wisconsin. Overall, Charleston Coed helped our sailors regain knowledge from the fall and prepare us for a week of Spring Training, with hopes of improving our results in the coming spring regattas.

ODU Women’s (3/4/17 – 3/5/17)

To start off the spring semester, the Honey Badgers ventured down to Virginia when they were unable to find warmer weather in the north. Little did they know, the weather in Norfolk would be way colder than in Madison that weekend. The journey down was relatively uneventful, despite driving past a crime scene on the Indiana highway. Past sailing connections led us to the warm and welcoming house of Charles Higgins in Norfolk, and the sick people among us, Charlie Childs and Maggie Houtz, were quarantined to an upstairs bedroom, while Kate Klement, Annie Sullivan, and Korina Hendricks set up camp in the house’s man cave. We woke to sunny skies and cold temperatures Saturday morning, and made our way to the regatta site, excited for a good day of racing. Thanks to the prior week of very heavy wind in Norfolk, the water in the Elizabeth River was pulled back into Chesapeake Bay, and the sailors had to walk with their boats into the river in order to get to deeper water (see @wiscosailing’s record-breaking Instagram post). Klement and Hendricks started the regatta off with a killer first start, which boosted confidence for the rest of the regatta despite that race being abandoned. After a lengthy postponement on shore, where we jammed to ODU’s country playlist and livestreamed the regatta, A-Divison went back out and successfully completed their first 3 race set. Sullivan and Houtz hit the water next, and after finding their groove they finished their first set with a bullet. The wind stayed consistent throughout the day, and the ladies ended in a good spot to make moves on Sunday. After racing, Saturday night consisted of subpar Italian food at “Ynot,” studying in an ODU library, where we found both internet (Pro tip from Kate: eduroam works on any college campus) and a ripe avocado, and watching the end of the UNC/Duke game with a collection of loyal fans at the house. The vibrant house guests informed us of a few things that night, not the least of which including that “we’re extremely out of touch with nature,” how the moon waxes and wanes, and that someone on the UW Water Ski team was also on MTV in the 90s. The next morning dawned bright and early, and just when we thought sailing in Virginia couldn’t get colder, it did. Klement and Hendricks launched in the low tide again, this time it feeling like a battle to drag the boat out there due to the 35-degree weather and ripping wind conditions. The wind didn’t die down during the A-set, so Charlie Childs headed out with Sullivan to compete in the first B-set of the day. The Wisco sailors contended with fluky conditions and dying breeze all day Sunday, and ended the regatta 7th overall. We hit the road with no planned destination to stay the night, but thankfully a kind Xavier basketball player welcomed us with warm pizza and a mansion of a college home. Overall, this regatta was a great way to kick off the spring, and got us all excited for the rest of the season to come.