Fall season sails in to success
Atlanta coast championship an icing on the cake for MIT sailing
MIT sailing capped off a memorable fall season with its first ever Atlantic Coast Championship victory. Skipper Ty Ingram ’18 and crew Sameena Shaffeeullah ’19 finished 2nd in division A while the team of Paige Omura ’17 and Trevor Long ’18 led the standings in division B to ensure the Engineers finished ahead of 2nd placed Tufts.
The dynamic between the skipper and the crew is critical in coed sailing. Quite interestingly each team had a unique journey en route to the championship.
Ingram and Shaffeeullah have been sailing together since the beginning of the season and had finished third in division A in the Hatch Brown trophy and second in division A in the Captain Hurst Bowl earlier in the season.
Omura and Long only started sailing as a team midway through the season. Yet by crunch time late in the season they had emerged as an elite team.
The Tech spoke to both teams as they discussed what makes them click and how the work they put in during the week and in-game decisions they make during a race both contribute to their success.
When probed about team dynamic, Shaffeeullah explained, “I know as a crew the kind of information I need to provide Ty.”
Ingram elaborated, “The most common information is [that] there are certain angles that I can’t see because the sail blocks me and so maybe we are about to collide with another boat.”
The Omura-Long approach varies somewhat compared to their teammates.
Long explained, “There are two levels of planning within the race. One is where I want the boat to go and the other is how the position of my boat within the fleet and those boats’ strategies affects ours.”
“With Paige [as my crew] I have been able to focus on where I want to be and what I want to do and not worry about where the other boats are around,” Long added.
What elements of competitive sailing can you practice during the week?
“It is about anticipating the wind pockets and sailing with the wind most of the race,”said Ingram.
“We had difficulty getting off the starting line. So the last two weeks [prior to the Atlantic Coast championship] of practice, we put a lot of effort into that,”remarked Shaffeeullah.
While racing as best you can serves you well a lot of the times, sometimes it is about recognizing the situation and minimizing your mistakes.
“In the second to last race [17 of 18], we were coming dead last but we were able to minimize our mistakes and make up 3 boats. In the end, we ended winning our division by that margin. Especially in the bigger races, minimizing your mistakes is often difference between winning and losing,”Omura noted.
So what was it like to have conquered the Atlantic Coast Championship for the first time?
“Exciting! Right after we finished, we did not know we had won until we looked on shore and our teammates were really happy and cheering us on,” Shaffeeullah reminisced.
For the senior who had been part of a really strong sailing program, the difference this season was consistency.
“In general our performance has been a lot more consistent [this season]. We have always had weekends where we performed really well [in the past]. This season was a lot more consistent. We have a lot of depth on the team and that contributed to it,”noted Omura.
Amidst all the hard work throughout the season and the adrenaline rush during the races is there a memory more cherished than others?
“Winning a race at Hoyt by a leg,” Long chimed in. “We ended up being the only boat that went in a certain corner and we got the wind. We were rounding the bottom mark while the rest of the boats were at the top. It was only a single race of the regatta. We were so far ahead we were confused when we finished. That was just great!”