On Sunday 9/27, sailors from IUP, Gannon University and the University of Pittsburgh converged on Yellow Creek Lake near campus to enjoy a day of racing and camaraderie. The Messabout took place at the Yellow Creek Sailing Base and was co-sponsored by the non-profit Friends of Yellow Creek.
Eleven sailors from IUP participated: Phil Dorn, Karl Richter, Joe Cristello, Ryan Sweeney, Kaleigh Gilmer, Karen Hill, Allie Jane, Will Brunner, Sean Horan, Denali Davis, and Ellie Kapp.
Gannon brought eight sailors from Erie, and Pitt also brought eight sailors. All three schools are members of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Sailing Association, and so they are eligible to compete in formal regattas on the Great Lakes, Chesapeake, and Atlantic. None of the three teams is more than four years old however, so it was decided a less formal “Messabout” would be more appropriate than a strict regatta.
Six races were held, with boats visiting the committee boat in order to substitute crew members, so that as many sailors as possible could enjoy the fun experience. Winds were perfect for an exciting race day, with sustained speeds of 10-11 mph and gusts up to 19 mph!
While the racing was not a “sanctioned” regatta, a standard “T-1” course was set up and the teams raced very competitively. Typical of college racing, the host team provides the boats; so IUP provided its six sailboats for the teams to share. So each school had two boats on the water, and each boat has on sailor who is the “skipper” and is accompanied by the “crew.” Scores are calculated on a low point system, with the winner of a given race receiving one point and the last place finish 6 points.
Final results were: Pitt Boat 03, First Place; IUP Boat 02 and Gannon Boat 05 tied for Second Place, with Pitt Boat 04 in third place.
Since some sailors had never participated in a formal race, and one or two crew were totally new to sailing, one could see improvement as the races progressed. There were several close finishes, one equipment breakdown (fixed on the water), and one capsize!
The racing was followed by a BBQ and campfire to warm back up after the “refreshing” sailing. IUP Sailing is a community affair with alumni members and faculty eligible to join.
Like Pitt and Gannon, the IUP sailing club welcomes new members. Experienced members can become involved in racing, but the focus of the club is on welcoming new sailors to the sport. The club “captain” Karl Richter and club advisor, Prof. Ken Sherwood, are both certified US Sailing instructors. Finance Prof. Dan Lawson and experienced student sailors also help teach the novices. As part of the club membership, interested students can learn and then achieve official US Sailing certification. IUP Sailing meets in Leonard 118 on Thursday evenings at 8pm. Look them up on Crimson Connect, http://iblog.iup.edu/
iupsailing/ or Facebook.
College sailing season for Fall is August – Nov 1, and Spring sailing begins when the lake thaws in April.