Over the weekend of April 27-28, a group of nine sailors consisting of Charlie Kutschenreuter, Olivia Staruck, Peter Sauer, Sam Bartel, Kate Britt, Will Huerth, Christian Spencer, Maggie Houtz, and Thomas Kelly travelled to Michigan for most of the team’s third time this spring. They were competing in the MCSA Coed Championship on Baseline Lake to qualify for Coed Semifinal Nationals. Saturday had nice sailing conditions of 7-10 mph NW breeze and warming temperatures throughout the day. The team sailed well, but not up to their own expectations. Due to an unfortunate disqualification in race 5 of B division and not the team’s greatest sailing, they found themselves in third place after 14 races on Saturday. The team was hungry to prove themselves on day two of the regatta.
Luckily, Sunday did not have any snow that was forecasted for the day, Baseline provided a nice Northerly breeze that decreased from 10 mph and shifted right throughout the day, and Wisco was ready to lay down some top notch races. The team sailed excellent on Sunday by winning eight of the ten races sailed, ended up second overall in the regatta to Michigan, and qualified for Coed Semifinals in Newport, RI. Although the heavy crews did not get any on the water time, they were always ready to go, provided great on-shore motivation, and played some fun yard games. The team would like to give a huge thank you to the Johanson family for hosting us for two regattas this spring and their incredible meals that they provided us. Seriously, this family rocks and helped us a ton this spring. The team is glad to finally be done traveling to Michigan for a few months and super excited to train for Nationals!
The Honey Badgers were faced with challenging conditions this past weekend at Women’s Quals at Northwestern. Sailing A’s were Cailin Considine and her crew Emma Zalog and sailing B’s were Erin Sullivan and her crew Anna Thickens. Although heavy crews Larissa Carroll and Rebekah Janssen were prepared to sail in the wild conditions on Saturday, the 4 and a half foot waves and heavy winds were a safety hazard and sailing was postponed till Sunday. With all of Saturday ahead of them and the big city of Chicago minutes away, the Honey Badgers decided to visit the Bean and stroll down Michigan Avenue. They then returned to their wonderful hosts in Winnetka, Larissa’s aunt and uncle. After a day of enjoying the nice weather and doing homework, the sailors were ready to compete on Sunday with the race warning time of 8am. The first few sets were a learning curve and the sailors were seeing improvement as the day went on. Unfortunately, the conditions were super light and the boats were bobbing around for over an hour after the short 10 minute midday break. With the inability to sail another A race after 3, and only the one day of sailing a total of 8 sets were sailed. The Honey Badgers finished just shy of qualifying for nationals in 4th place.
On Thursday afternoon, five sailors departed Madison and began their long road trip to Long Island, New York to compete in the 2019 Admiral’s Cup at the United State Merchant Marine Academy. Charlie Kutschenreuter (’19), Olivia Staruck (’20), Peter Sauer (’20), Christian Spencer (’22), and Will Huerth (’19) felt very spacious in the Enterprise Suburban they were driving for the weekend, and many laughs were had on their cross country road trip. Sunday evening, they finally arrived at CJ and Kimball Bocklet’s house on Long Island (parents of Wisco Sailing alum Charles Bocklet), and most of the sailors settled into bed while Will Huerth went to LaGuardia Airport to pick up Maggie Houtz (’19), the 6th member of the squad.
Saturday morning, in the midst of torrential downpour, we left the Bocklet’s early in order to pick up our coach for the weekend, Claire Dennis, at her train stop. Then, we headed to the site and settled in for a long postponement while the Race Committee waited for the wind and rain to calm down. After about two hours and only a slight decrease in wind, the RC decided to send the sailors out on the water to see what would happen in the 20-35 MPH breeze. It made for an exciting morning for our heavy crews, a fair amount of carnage on the race course, and lots of entertainment for Claire and our light crews, Maggie and Olivia. Steadily, over the course of the day, the wind piped down to around 15-20, and the race committee was able to complete 8 races in each division (with Christian and Will getting a 4th in the last race!).
On Sunday, the sailors arrived to the site to see beautiful sunshine over the water and a gorgeous 7-10 MPH breeze. Maggie and Olivia subbed in for Will and Peter, and all the sailors hit the water to complete 8 more races in each division. Over the course of the weekend, we enjoyed sailing in such a competitive fleet and felt as though we were really getting dialed in in both the 420 and the FJ. We can’t wait to take the lessons we learned at Admiral’s Cup and put them to the test at Coed Qual’s this upcoming weekend. HUGE shout-out to Claire Dennis for taking the time to coach us this weekend, and for sticking with us through our race losses and our race wins. You are the best! Also, the biggest thank you goes out to CJ and Kimball Bocklet for letting us stay at their beautiful home over Easter weekend, and providing us with meals and snacks throughout the regatta! We couldn’t do what we do without the kindness of members of our community, and we are truly grateful. Go Go Wisco!
This weekend, the Wisconsin Sailing team once again traveled off to the east coast; this time for a three-division regatta at Conn College called the Thompson Trophy. The group consisted of Noah Janssen, Lucas Quinn, Jack Behrend, Rachel Zimdars, Anna Thickens, Zach Childs, and Erin Sullivan, who made the 16 hour drive there and back to get some practice against stronger competition. Situated on the Thames River in New London, CT, Conn College sails on a larger part of the river where current plays an important role on the race course due to the deep submarine channel for the nearby naval base. This regatta had three divisions, and we rotated between the fleets of FJs and Z420s over the course of the weekend. Report time for Saturday was 10:30 with the wind coming from SSE at 3-6 knots which held all day. Jack Behrend and Rachel Zimdars had the best performance of the weekend, finishing in second place during their third race. After four sets for each of the three divisions, we ended the day with more than half of the regatta under our belts. On Sunday the wind came slowly but surely, and after a brief wind delay, we hit the water once again with the breeze coming from the SE building up to 5-8 knots by the end of the day. After three sets on Sunday we hit the road, tired from what had become a long weekend of learning at such a competitive level for the team, and we cannot wait to get back on Mendota to practice what we have learned. After talking with our wonderful coach, Claire Denis, all three boats decided that the thing they most need to work on is starts.
During our travels we always find so much kindness and this time is no exception. Some people we would like to thank for making this trip possible are the Zimdars for greatly contributing to our travel expenses, David Sullivan for hosting us for dinner on our trip, Adam Pallant for feeding us, giving us a place to sleep, and being our alarm clock with excellent morning music and most importantly, our coach Claire Denis for coming out to coach us and having hope in our little Midwest team. You all rock and we appreciate you all more than you know!
Navy Spring Womens:
The spring season for the Honey Badgers has begun! I hope our fans are stoked because we had our first regatta this weekend at the Naval Academy. After an effortless Friday drive from Madison to Annapolis, we stayed with our amazing Navy family, The Kennedys. Arriving at the regatta site Saturday morning, we were excited to see our coach, Claire Dennis, and alumni, Ian Walter. This weekend representing Wisconsin we had sophomore skipper Erin Sullivan with crews Larissa Carroll and Anna Thickens in A-Division and senior skipper Cailin Considine with crews Emma Zalog and Alise Mintz in B-Division. The first-day forecast showed light conditions, and we will be the first to tell you, it wasn’t wrong. We managed to get off six races on Saturday, Erin sailing with Anna and Cailin sailing with Emma. The fleets were tough and months with no practice on the water didn’t make it better, but we kicked our rust off and kept our moral just as strong as the current. Day two came, and the wind did too! We had a great Southern breeze at 10 knots with tricky conditions. On Sunday Erin sailed with Larissa and Cailin stuck with Emma. Although we did not get the results we wanted we learned so much this weekend and are excited to work out our issues with coaches Joe Kutschenreuter and Claire Dennis next week at Spring Break in Florida. Big thanks to The Kennedy’s for feeding and housing the Honey Badgers this weekend, to Claire Dennis for coaching us, and Ian Walter for cheering us on! Go Go Wisco!
Charleston Spring Coed Interconference:
On Thursday, 6 Badgers loaded up into a Dodge Caravan to start off the regatta season in sunny and warm Charleston, South Carolina. After 17 uneventful hours in the car, the team arrived at Jeff and Amy Woodard’s beautiful house on the river. After playing with their 3 dogs and watching sunset on the beach, the sailors got a much-needed night of rest before sailing. When they arrived at the Charleston Sailing Center on Saturday they were greeted with 72 degrees and winds 5-10 mph. With light winds and strong current, the race committee sailed us in Crab Bank where the water is deeper and there is more current relief. In A division, Charlie Kutschenreuter and Olivia Staruck sailed Z420s and threw down top 5 scores in the light to medium breeze. Freshman Sam Bartel made his ICSA debut and sailed B division in the FJ with Sophomore Kate Britt. They made great gains throughout the day and quickly acclimated to the FJ. After the first day of sailing since October, the badgers were ready for a good night of sleep before sailing on Sunday. Sunday morning, the team arrived at the site to beautiful weather of 75 and sunny and winds 10-15mph. In the morning the race committee had us sail in Crab Bank where we got in 4 races. In the heavier breeze and chop, the heavy crews, Peter Sauer and Thomas Kelly were able to stretch their legs. A and B division switched what boats they were sailing and A division sailors, Charlie and Olivia got readjusted to the FJ which they hadn’t sailed since Nationals in May. After a quick lunch break, the race course was moved to the bridge and sailors got in 4 more races in the medium breeze and ripping current. Current was a huge factor on the starting line and A division had a few general recalls before realizing they had to sail very far away from the line in order not to be OCS. At the end of the day, the Badgers ended in 12th, a good start for the first regatta of the season. It was great to get some practice in and start to shake the rust off before our Spring Training Trip starting March 18th. Overall, we learned a lot about what we need to work on and are excited to hit the ground running next week.