Sailing teams secures a spot in Nationals and qualifies for Singlehanded and Coed Match Racing

By Jack Clark, ‘19

Photo courtesy: TAMUG Sailing team
Left to right) Ian Beck‘19, Hayley Walker ‘18, Jonathan Sager ‘20 and Alexander Hanna ‘19  represented TAMUG at the Texas Corinthian Yacht Club during the match racing competition.

The Texas A&M Sailing Team strikes again with their firm victories this past month. The team faced stiff competition, prevailed, and secured yet another spot at Nationals. In fact the team qualified for Men’s Singlehanded, and Coed Match Racing Nationals. The results are bringing more attention to Texas A&M University at Galveston as a national sailing powerhouse.

In early October, Galveston hosted the South East Interscholastic Sailing Association’s (SEISA) Men’s Singlehanded Championship. Universities like Tulane, Rice, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and the University of Central Oklahoma all ventured down to compete for the district’s spot in Nationals.

Out of all the sailors that competed, only the victor would be selected to represent SEISA at the national regatta. TAMUG, being a dominate university in SEISA, had heavy representation on the course. The Sailing Team sent Alexander Hanna, ’19, Alexander Thompson, ’18, Jonathan Sager, ’20, Ian Beck, ’19, and Tomas Braly, ’19, to compete.
When all the scores were counted, Hanna placed first and secured a spot for the team at Nationals. The conditions posed many challenges with high winds throughout the day.

“The first half of the day I felt it out, and by the second half it was a shootout between me and a guy from Rice,” Hanna said. “It was also a challenge having a strong wind because of my size.”
With Singlehanded Nationals in the bag, the team moved on to SEISA Match Racing Championships. Match racing involves different rules, and therefore involved dedicated practices. As Hanna said, “Match racing is one-on-one sailing. The goal is to control the game by using the rules to your advantage.”

In Match racing the team sailed in Sonars, multi person boats with a fixed keel and a crew of three-four. “Unlike dinghies it’s a bigger boat that requires more teamwork,” Hanna said.
The team competed at the Texas Corinthian Yacht Club (TCYC) near Kemah. Representing our university was again Hanna, Sager, Beck, and Haley Walker, ’18.

With match racing rules and strategies being different from most regattas, the team faced a new challenge. Members of the team had to routinely travel to TCYC to practice match racing in the fleet of Sonars available there as the regatta approached.
With Hanna as skipper, Sager as the main trimmer, Walker in the pit, and Beck as the bowman, the crew practiced against other members of the team.

By the end of the regatta TAMUG held another first place spot that will send the team to Match Racing Nationals. Hanna said, “We really grew as a team, and I’m really excited for Nationals. We were far better than the other boats as far as boat handling.”
Hanna said, it is the team’s “desire and drive to be successful at the next level,” that pushes them towards their victories.

The team will compete for Singlehanded Nationals in Galveston November 4-6. They will also go to San Diego for Match Racing Nationals November 18-20.