Published in The Crow’s Nest March 2015
While USF’s premiere sailors were busy competing in Annapolis, MD., skipper Dean Nixon and Devin Hansen were holding down the fort in St. Petersburg.
The Bulls’ sailing team hosted and finished in third place on Saturday in the fourth South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (SIASA) South Points race.
South Points competitions feature Florida colleges and generally less experienced sailors in hopes of exposing them to more racing.
The competition featured 13 different teams made up from seven different schools, with 14 total races broken up into two divisions, averaging 12 minutes in length. Hansen and Nixon won two of those races (2A and 7A).
“As long as we do what we know we can do, we usually do pretty well,” Hansen said. “We definitely like to win.”
Eckerd College won the competition and had another team finish in fourth in Division A, first and third in Division B. The Bulls’ second and third squads finished 10th and 11th behind Hansen and Nixon in Division A.
“It means a lot because you are able to host so many different schools down here and you can do it all year round and a lot of schools can’t,” Hansen said about Florida weather.
In Division B, Sarah Smith and Michael Sanandajian finished in fourth for the Bulls, winning race 6B.
USF sailing coach Allison Jolly said all the races during the competition featured an up-and-down route, making the teams go in a specific direction three, four or five times in total (also known as W3, W4 and W5). Whereas in other sailing competitions, the route is the shape of a triangle or trapezoid.
It was the last home competition for the Bulls during the spring semester. The team, however, will be traveling less than seven miles to Eckerd College two more times before the season ends.
“Hosting and getting to sail in your home regatta is definitely a big plus because we have home field advantage,” senior USF sailor Amanda Milford said. “We know how the wind decides to change in here, we know how the current is going to be.”
The Bulls are coming off a third place finish at Navy, where Dominique Wright, Darcy Jensen, Alison Knoles and Mary Guidi all competed. The team is hoping to continue their success during the spring season in preparation for a national competition in May.
“Of course we want to win,” Milford said. “We want to keep our ranking because we are ranked pretty high right now nationally. This is really good practice for us …”
(Photo Courtesy of Ian MacCallum)