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ICSA: USA College Nationals start next week

WE'VE BEEN ASKED by a number of our Dear Readers if we are going to cover the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) National Championships, of which there are actually five held each Spring, beginning next week and run through Friday, June 2nd hosted by the College of Charleston. Our longtime friend, and former friendly Flying Scot adversary, Greg Fisher, is the CoC's Director of Sailing and is heading up the organizing committee. You can get a feel for Greg & Co.'s monumental task on the nice ICSA national championship website.

Having sailed in the College Nationals in the early 70s (and, ahem, winning a number of them with my UMich sailing mates including noted San Diego naval architect Bruce Nelson), I know first hand what a challenge they are, and, at the same time, how they help create life-long sailing bonds not just among your teammates but with opponents from the other schools. To this day I'm in touch with any number of college sailors from our era, and when we're together at a regatta, or in a yacht club bar, fond and funny memories are re-told often to dismay of our kids (right, Meg?). Nelson is particularly good at recounting such stories, especially after an adult beverage or two, and Bruce gets even funnier with each passing year.

The Coed Championship is the oldest of the five national championships. Quoting from the ICSA website, "By tradition and stature it is considered THE national championship. The first ten competitions (1937-46) were held at the MIT Sailing Pavilion which served as the focus of college sailing in the early years. From 1947 on, the sites of the ICSA championships have been rotated amongst the member conferences. There are seven geographic conferences and qualification for the nationals is earned first through the conference championships and then through the ICSA Dinghy Semifinals. The number of berths to the semifinals is determined by the number of regular and provisional member schools in each conference. The top nine teams from each of the two semifinals advance to the nationals. The dinghy nationals must be sailed in two-person dinghies not less than 11 feet wide, nor more than 15 feet in length (usually FJs or Club 420s). The regatta format consists of two-division (A & B) fleet racing, the most commonly used format in the ICSA. The school with the best combined scores for the two divisions wins the national championship...."

So, yes, we'll be covering the Coed Championship, or Dinghy Champs as they are often called, and as many of the others we have the time and energy for, given that there is another event of some significance starting next Friday in Bermuda. The Coed Champs actually run May 30th through June 2nd, and look for the ICSA's TV coverage live-streamed here on SAILING ILLUSTRATED.

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