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MAISA South Spring Qualifier at Hampton

posted Apr 4, 2013, 5:41 AM by William Joumas

MAISA South Spring Qualifier at Hampton (March 30-31)

Despite Villanova’s university-wide break for Easter weekend, Coach Matt Newborn and four student-sailors made the six hour drive to Hampton University in Hampton, VA for the MAISA’s South Spring Qualifier, the site of the 2013 National Semifinals in May. One of the most important regattas of the spring season, the event was the qualifier for both the America’s Trophy (MAISA Spring Championship) as well as the Leroy Grant (a secondary championship regatta). As both of these regattas also affect the end of season rankings, it was imperative for us to qualify. With several days off from school for the break, we left on Friday morning and arrived in Virginia in time to practice with the Christopher Newport University team in Newport News.

Saturday morning was beautiful and sunny with temperatures reaching the low 60s, but with very little wind. After a lengthy sail out to the course, the breeze built to just about 4 kts and racing began. The wind oscillated and remained unsteady throughout the day, completely dying during some races and causing the RC to abandon others due to significant shifts. With rotations happening right off the beach, everyone ashore had easy viewing of the action on the course. Domenic Re ’15 and Scott Barnhill ’14 sailed each of the six races in A division while Will Joumas ’14 and Patricia Kelley ’14 sailed all six races in B division. Both boats had their ups and downs and the team finished Saturday within one place of qualifying for the Grant.

Sunday was forecasted to bring heavy winds and rain, but the breeze never quite filled as expected. A decision by the race committee to resail race 5A led to six races being sailed in A division and five in B, with racing continuing right up until the 3:00 pm deadline. By the last set, the breeze came up significantly and for the final race, 11B, Scott took the helm in B division and Will switched to heavy-air crew. However, after a stellar start, the pair was forced to retire from the race and they were awarded a breakdown due to problems with the mainsail. The goal for the day was to take back at least one spot and qualify for the Grant and we did so with a 20 point lead over the next place team.

We would like to extend our appreciation to Joe & Heather Re, parents of Domenic '15, for providing our lunches and dinners this weekend and to Craig & Jacalyn Quigley for their gracious hospitality in hosting our team for dinner on Saturday evening.

Old Guard Intersectional at Navy

posted Apr 4, 2013, 5:41 AM by William Joumas   [ updated Apr 6, 2013, 2:34 PM ]

Old Guard Regatta at Navy (March 23-24)

After watching Villanova basketball’s disappointing loss to UNC on Friday March 22nd, we drove to Baltimore in anticipation of the Old Guard Intersectional at the U.S. Naval Academy that weekend.

On Saturday morning, following a quick trip to APS, the team was greeted by a puffy northwesterly rolling down the Severn River. Domenic Re ’15 and Scott Barnhill ’14 started in A division sailing FJs while Will Joumas ’14 and Patricia Kelly ’14 began in B division racing 420s. Throughout the day, inconsistent gusts of up to 18 kts sporadically appeared around the course, helping certain boats, while a nearby skipper could be dealing with just 5 kts of breeze. Difficult conditions allowed for only three races to be sailed in each division before the fleets broke for lunch ashore. Villanova got off to a tough start, but after A division made the switch from FJs to 420 before the last set of the day, Domenic and Scott showed noticeable improvement as they rounded the first windward mark in third, and held on for a seventh place finish. In B division, Will and Patricia sailed together in preparation of the upcoming qualifier, although Alex Heid ’15 and Caroline Carney ‘16 substituted during races 4B-6B so Coach Matt Newborn could coach Will and Patricia during in the non-stop two-division regatta format.

Sunday was much colder and lighter, forcing the race committee to move racing out of the river and into the Annapolis harbor. Six more races were sailed in both divisions with Domenic and Scott continuing in A division and Alex and Caroline taking over in B division. Although the end results do not appear great on paper, this was a good event for the team. With eight NEISA teams present, and some of the best teams in the country sailing their top pairs, the competition was tough and provided us with an opportunity to sail alongside some of the best in college sailing.

We would like to extend our appreciation to Lisa Barnhill, mother of Scott, for her gracious hospitality in housing our team in Baltimore for the weekend.

St. Mary's College Women's Intersectional

posted Mar 20, 2013, 3:18 PM by William Joumas   [ updated Mar 20, 2013, 3:19 PM ]

March 16-17,
 St. Mary's College (MD)

St. Patrick’s Day weekend was momentous for the Villanova Sailing Team, led by Coach Matt Newborn, as they sent their first-ever women’s team to the St. Mary’s Women’s Intersectional in St. Mary’s City, MD.  With 15 of the top ranked women’s teams from around the country scheduled to attend, the level of competition at this regatta was possibly the highest we have ever faced. Among the fleet were seven schools from our region, MAISA (Mid-Atlantic), seven from NESIA (New England), two from SAISA (South Atlantic), and University of Hawaii flying in from PCCSC (Pacific).

Saturday morning was brisk with winds starting at about 5-7 kts out of the SE and brief periods of rain showers.  Temperatures reached the high 50s, resulting in a beautiful, sunny day as racing progressed.  Sarah Celone (’13) and Jen White (’16) began in A fleet sailing 420’s, while Tracy Grim (’16) and Caroline Carney (’16) began in B fleet sailing FJ’s.  After a few races, the girls really started to sail well together with the A team finishing the third race in the top ten.  The breeze quickly petered off in the early afternoon and a lunch break was called after only managing to fit in four races in A fleet and three races in B.  A subsequent wind delay ensued and the afternoon proved to be less-than-ideal conditions for sailing with less than 5 kts of breeze and long periods of drifting on the course.  The Race Committee was only able to get off one more race in each fleet and finally called off racing at 4:30 when conditions were determined to be unfit for further sailing.

Sunday morning brought more favorable sailing conditions with a 10-15 kts Northerly breeze. However, the competitors were met with hail storms in the early afternoon.   A and B divisions switched fleets on Sunday with A moving to FJ’s and B changing to 420’s.  Consequently, with the heavier breeze came a polarization between the experience of the other teams in comparison to the inaugural Villanova women’s team.  However, after a midday crew switch between divisions, the Villanova girls seemed to hit the reset button on the day, and came back for a competitive finish!

With the level of arguably the fiercest the team has ever seen, we were pleased with our ability to remain competitive throughout the two days of racing. After further practicing and more regattas under our belt, we are certain that the next women’s regatta will see Villanova placing much higher.

Georgetown Team Race Regatta

posted Mar 20, 2013, 3:13 PM by William Joumas   [ updated Mar 20, 2013, 3:15 PM ]

March 2-3, Georgetown University

After just one week of on-the-water practices, Sarah Celone '13, Scott Barnhill '14, Will Joumas '14, Domenic Re '15, Charles Rice '15, Nelson Rice '15, and Caroline Carney '16 travelled to our nation's capital to kick off the spring season at the Georgetown Team Race regatta.  Led by Head Coach Matt Newborn, it was our first team race of the season and we were slated to sail against some of MAISA's most talented team racing programs in St. Mary's, Hobart William Smith, Georgetown, NY Maritime, and Fordham.

Sailors were met by cool March weather on Saturday morning and sailed the first round robin in the Washington Sailing Marina Lagoon with a 12mph breeze out of the Northwest.  The second round robin was then sailed further south on the Potomac River.  After two very difficult rounds, sailing was called for the day.

On Sunday morning our team arrived to find frozen jib sheets and icy boats thanks to the subfreezing overnight temperatures.  After a slight postponement, racing commenced at Haines Point with a brisk 15-20mph NW wind. The combination of waves and wind made sailing at Haines Point quite difficult, leading to several capsizes. The fleet was sent back to the lagoon where the round was completed.

Although we finished out the weekend in 6th, we left with positivity and clear goals for the rest of the season.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Lisa Barnhill for hosting our team on Friday night in Baltimore and to the Griffith family for hosting us on Saturday night in Alexandria, VA.  Their graciousness and support of our team is invaluable and we thank both families for making our trip possible.

America's Trophy

posted Apr 21, 2012, 3:00 PM by Marisa Demourkas   [ updated Apr 21, 2012, 3:01 PM ]

April 14-15, Hobart William & Smith

Let’s start out by saying that the team could not have been more excited about qualifying to sail in the America’s Trophy this past weekend.  Everyone worked incredibly hard this season to increase the competitive level of the team and we have seen the benefits.  Last week provided us with near perfect sailing conditions, 10-15 kts of breeze and warm weather, every day.  The forecast for Hobart and William Smith on Seneca Lake looked spectacular, calling for a similar 10-15 kt breeze both days and temperatures in the 60s.  Unfortunately the weather gods did not cooperate and Saturday saw 8-10 kts petering out to nothing after only getting in 3 races.  After a long postponement through most of the day, the breeze finally built a little. Scott Barnhill (’14) and Domenic Re (‘15) sailed the remaining race of their first set. Marisa Demourkas (’12) and Sarah Celone (’13) sailed a final A set before the wind shut off completely.

Having only completed 6 races, Sunday was a long day on the water with a report time of 8:30. The first race started a little after 9 in 4-6 kts.   As the last races finished around 4 pm it seemed like we were finally figuring out how to put together some good races with the seniors, Andrew Sayre and Marisa Demourkas finishing 10th in the last A fleet race of the day, and Domenic and Scott pulling out a 4th in their last B fleet race. 

This regatta was a bit of a wakeup call for the Villanova Sailing Team as it was the first time we had ever competed against the top sailors in our region.  These guys (and girls) are good.  Sailing always comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes, and in light and shifty conditions where there are many mistakes to be had, the top teams sailed next to perfectly.  The team rounded out the regatta finishing 16th out of 18 teams.

Needless to say the fire has been lit under the Villanova Sailing Team and the team is more motivated than ever to make a big push next season.  The team’s final regattas of the season are this coming weekend with one team going to Georgetown to race in the prestigious Arrigan Trophy and another squad headed down to the Delaware Open regatta at Delaware University. 

MAISA Central Spring Qualifier

posted Apr 6, 2012, 8:34 AM by Marisa Demourkas


March 30 & April 1, Perth Amboy, NJ

The Villanova Sailing team competed at Raritan Yacht Club in Perth Amboy, NJ in the Central MAISA Qualifier hosted by Princeton University. This regatta is the qualifier for the America’s trophy at Hobart and William Smith in 2 weeks. The America’s Trophy is essentially MAISA’s spring championship regatta and the qualifier for national semifinals. The top 9 teams in the conference automatically qualify, and the remaining 9 spots in the 18 boat fleet get filled through a North, Central and South qualifier with the top 3 teams from each event moving on.

As an emerging club team Villanova has always been on the bubble of qualifying, but has not been able to make in happen since 2006. This year we were ready. We came in with the mentality that we were going to sail our hardest and make sure that our results showed it. With a strong group of 5 sailors, 3 skippers and 2 crews, we rolled up to Raritan Yacht Club Saturday morning ready to make a statement. Saturday saw great, albeit cold, sailing conditions with overcast skies and 12-16 kts of breeze. Since we were sailing FJs, our west coast FJ extraordinaire, freshman Domenic Re, headed out in A-fleet with sophomore crew Scott Barnhill. With the first race acting as a warm up, the two underclassmen figured out the racecourse and went 7 and 1 in the first two races. They set the bar high and backed it up with 3 bullets by the end of the day. With the breeze as it was Andrew Sayre along with fellow senior Marisa Demourkas went out in B-fleet and brought home consistent top 4 results almost all day. Saturday ended with the Villanova team leading the regatta by just one point after winning a tight protest over top competitor Stevens Institute of Technology!

Sunday morning greeted the team with a standard sailing situation of “hurry up and wait”. Wake up early, scramble to get breakfast, fly over to the regatta to make it there by 9 am only to find that there is no breeze. The teams waited around until approximately 10:30-11:00 before the wind filled to a consistent 5-7 kts out of the southwest. Domenic and Scott continued to sail A-fleet and junior Sarah Celone stepped in to helm the B-boat in the light air conditions. With each fleet only getting in 2 sets of races, Villanova Sailing was not quite able to maintain our position on the top of the fleet but we ended up in 3rd place, a qualifying position.

The team could not be more excited about qualifying and making it into the America’s trophy. The team will be training hard over the next 2 weeks to be ready to give a 110% when we compete at Hobart and William Smith with the goal giving it our all.

Team Race Challenge

posted Mar 20, 2012, 1:43 PM by Marisa Demourkas

March 17-18, King's Point, NY

The Team Race Challenge of 2012 was the Villanova Sailing Team's first venture onto 3 on 3 team racing in recent memory (perhaps ever).  Hosted by the United States Merchant Marine Academy, it featured, Cornell, University of Virginia, USMMA, Columbia, Fordham, Princeton, Washington college and us.  Our team for the weekend was made up of seniors Andrew Sayre and Marisa Demourkas, junior Sarah Celone, sophomore Scott Barnhill, and freshmen Charles Rice, Nelson Rice, Alex Heid, and Domenic Re.  This regatta is the qualifier for the team race conference championship, with the top two teams moving on.  

Saturday dawned with no wind and a nice fog hanging over Eastchester Bay.  Before long a nice 5-10 knot northeasterly breeze filled in and team racing began in earnest.  One round robin was completed and another half over before the breeze shut off for half an hour before doing a 180 and filling in at 7 to 10 from the south.  Villanova fought hard all day, with everyone making major contributions.  While our record was only 4 wins and 10 losses, we sailed much better than our win total would indicate.  Except for two early races against the teams that wound up being first and second and one later race where we had a boat erroneously called over early we held the lead in every race.  We were particularly good downwind, often turning a losing situation into a winning one.  Unfortunately we struggled with play recognition and winning the last beats; two sure signs of a young team in its first team race. 
We finished the regatta tied for fifth with Columbia but losing the tie breaker to place sixth.  If we had won all of the races that we were winning late we would have had at least 4 or 5 more wins, but as they say, ifs just won't cut it.  The team is looking forward to building off of our team race experience this year and doing much better in this (and other team race regattas) in years to come.  Next up for the team is a weekend of practice at Corinthian Yacht Club in anticipation of our qualifier for the Americas Trophy at the end of the month.

Washington College 2v2 Team Race

posted Mar 13, 2012, 9:28 PM by Marisa Demourkas   [ updated Mar 13, 2012, 9:32 PM ]

March 10-11, 2012, Washington College

This past weekend five members of the Villanova Sailing Team gave up their second weekend of spring break to brave the cold and murky water of the Chester River at the Washington College 2 on 2.  This was our first team race of the season and was held in Chestertown, Maryland.  We arrived Saturday to a sunny and cold day with a WNW wind at about 8 knots and a strong ebbing tide.  The wind today oscillated between WNW and N, often suddenly and without warning.  The velocity was also highly variable.  It was not uncommon for one side of the course to be in an 15+ knot puff while the other side of the course was totally becalmed.  These shifty and puffy wind conditions put maintaining good balance on the course at an extreme premium.  Our team sailed very well on the first day and amassed a very respectable 6 and 4 record by day's end against Washington College, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and William and Mary.

The second day of the regatta presented almost ideal team racing conditions with a very steady SW breeze around 8 knots building throughout the day to around 12-15. Unfortunately we didn't fare as well as we hoped, finishing the day with a 2 and 4 record to finish the regatta at an even 8 and 8.  While we may not have won more races than we lost, the team got a very good introduction/refresher to team racing and was competitive in every race.  WAC and Penn may have finished higher in the standings than we did, but we made them work for it harder than anyone else when they beat us.  The team this weekend was made up of Trevor VonKaenel, Andrew Sayre, Patricia Kelley, Scott Barnhill, and Domenic Re. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Gibbons-Neff family for letting us stay at their beautiful family farm as well as coming out to watch us sail on Saturday.  We also would like to thank the Barnhill family for coming out on the water to be our cheering squad both days despite the cold temps both days and rough river chop on Sunday.
This week should prove to be plenty busy for the team.  Monday we will be launching our fleet of boats followed by practice Tuesday through Friday.  This weekend we will travel to Kings Point to compete in the Team Race Challenge with the hopes of qualifying for the conference team race championships!  Go Nova!

College of Charleston Intersectional

posted Mar 5, 2012, 3:28 PM by Marisa Demourkas   [ updated Mar 5, 2012, 3:35 PM ]

February 18-19, 2011, College of Charleston

On February 17th (that's right, February) the Villanova Sailing Team kicked off its season in earnest by piling into a car and driving 12 hours south to Charleston, South Carolina. Armed with nothing but Dave Perry's Winning in One Design, a very large bag full of snacks, and satellite radio the team legged it to Charleston and arrived late, very late (3am). However, no one was too tired in the morning because this regatta was a significant step for our team; it was our first major intersectional and an awesome early season opportunity to line up against a stacked field.  The teams present came from as far as Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts and California, and six of the top twenty teams in the nation were represented.

Saturday dawned in spectacular fashion with breeze and temperature that could best be described as mild.  With a strong ebbing tide, the courses were cross current gold cups sailed in the marsh north of the USS Yorktown.  Having an aircraft carrier moored in the vacinity of a collegiate race course creates interesting wind shadow and shifting effects to say the least!  The breeze was out of the east around 6 knots and there were plenty of puffs to be found on the edges of the course.  Our team consisted of Sarah Celone('13) and Marisa Demourkas('12) in A fleet and Domenic Re('15) and Scott Barnhill('14) in B fleet.  The boats sailed well on the first day despite the tricky conditions and strong fleet.  As this was our first day on the water since the conclusion of the fall season, there was some rust to shake off.  However, the boats combined to finish half of the races in the top ten!
Sunday looked to be a mirror image of Saturday when we arrived at the sailing center in terms of the wind.  Gone was the sun which was replaced by off and on rain.  One A division set was sailed in a dying easterly and strong ebb tide in the marsh before the wind died completely.  This set was a real microcosm of the difficulties of sailing in Charleston. The girls mis-read the tide and by overstanding the mark dropped from a top 5 finish to 10th.  However, they made up for it on the next race with a solid third, easily outpacing the boats behind them by sailing with the shifts and reading the current correctly.  After a long wind delay complete with heavy rain, the trademark Charleston sea breeze came up from the south building to 14 knots and gusting to 18+.  Two more B sets were sailed along with one additional A set to give each fleet ten quality races for the regatta.  We had a rough last set and dropped two positions overall to finish in 14th, still a very respectable finish for our first major intersectional!  The team sailed a great regatta and showed that we can line up with the top teams in the country and compete.
This coming weekend, March 10th and 11th, the team will travel to Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland for the first two on two team race regatta of the semester.  This regatta is our tune up for the team race challenge the following weekend where we will hope to qualify for the conference team race championship.  Attending this weekend will be Andrew Sayre, Scott Barnhill, Domenic Re, Trevor VonKaenal, and Patricia Kelley.  This is a regatta that we should be very competitive at, and I look forward to letting you know next week how the team preformed.  We will be starting practice up next week as well, so feel free to come down to the Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia to watch around 4 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Villanova University Wins First-Ever Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta Video Contest

posted Jan 20, 2012, 8:09 PM by Scott Barnhill   [ updated Mar 13, 2012, 9:30 PM by Marisa Demourkas ]

LARCHMONT, N.Y. (January 13, 2012) – Sailors captured the breeze from a creative angle during a video challenge at the Larchmont Yacht Club and Storm Trysail Foundation 2011 Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta (IOR), which took place over Columbus Day Weekend. During the two-day event, 30 HD Flip video cameras, donated to the Foundation by Storm Trysail Club members Rick Lyall and Barry Gold, were made available so that each sailing team had the opportunity to document as much action as possible onboard their boats and dockside before and after racing as well as during social events. This week, Villanova University (click to view video), with sophomore Scott Barnhill (Baltimore, Md.) serving as video editor, was declared the winner of the video challenge and will receive a $1,500 donation made out to its sailing team. 

“We’re in a big fundraising stage for our team, so this a fantastic boost for us,” said Barnhill, adding that it was Villanova’s first time attending the event and that it certainly lived up to its reputation as the world’s largest, if not most exciting, college regatta. Over 400 collegiate sailors from across the country raced on the placid waters of Long  Island Sound off Larchmont, N.Y.  They sailed on 47 offshore boats, which were lent for the weekend by private owners. The boats ranged in size from 35 to 44 feet.

 “The cameras really brought everyone together; you saw a lot of people come forward to share their creative ideas with each other,” said Barnhill. “Looking back, the level of footage that we got to work with was fantastic because we had cameras in so many different places. It is impossible to be at every spot and to capture all the shots, but because we had all those cameras we were able to document the whole event.” Once the regatta had concluded, the footage, which totaled over 50 hours, was uploaded to a server, and each team was challenged to t

urn the collective work into a short video that would best capture the atmosphere of the event. 

“The video that Villanova submitted not only met the criteria of the contest, but it was a superior effort that will serve to show what this regatta is all about and help the Storm Trysail Foundation and Larchmont Yacht Club build interest in the event,” said IOR Regatta Chairman Adam Loory.  “We will definitely run the contest again in the future,” Loory added.  “Having cameras on all the boats and in the hands of so many different shooters let us cover the regatta so much better than just one or two professional photographers, and we have a lot of good footage that was left on the cutting room floor, so to speak, that we will be able to use in other projects.”

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