It's been a long time coming, but last week the U.S. Naval Academy'sIntercollegiate Sailing Team scored an impressive coup.
Team members conquered all of the other top collegiate dinghy teams in the country and won the National Intercollegiate Championships at Tulane University in New Orleans. It was the first time in the event's history that Navy swept all three events of the regatta.
Racing was in 420s out of Southern Yacht Club on Lake Pontchartrain.
First was the Women's Nationals, which was won by Navy when A Division skipper Susie Minton, with Julie Kohl as her crew, topped out that division for the second year in a row. An excellent performance by B skipper Cynthia Williams clinched the women's title.
Winnerof the B division in the Women's Nationals was Annapolitan Perry Reeves of St. Mary's College, with crew Karen Raley. Both Reeves and Navy's Minton were named to the exclusive 10-member sorority that is thewomen's All-American list.
The oldest and most prestigious event of all, the Intercollegiate Dinghy National Championships, came next,with Navy scoring a convincing victory in both A and B divisions to take the regatta by anunprecedented 54-point margin.
"The last time Navy was national champion was in 1956 and '57," said intercollegiate sailing director Gary Bodie. "Thirty-four years is a long time to wait. It's kind of ironic. It's the 54th year of the regatta, and we won it by 54 points. Navy's only won A division in that event three times: in 1957 with James Googe, in 1973 with Bill Campbell, and this year, with Brad Rodi."
Rodi, with crew Jeri Lea Smalley, was joined in victory by Minton, sailing with Shane Baldino as her crew, when she won the B division of the event. It was the first time a woman has ever won either division in the coed Dinghy Nationals.
The finalevent of the regatta was the National Team-Racing Championship, alsowon by Navy, with Rodi, Minton and Willie Graves as the skippers forthe three-boat team, making Minton the only woman ever to win all three events.
The three sailors subsequently were named to the Collegiate All-American first team.
St. Mary's sailor Scott Nixon, who was ninth in the A division of the Dinghy Nationals, received honorable mention as an All-American.
Named to the Sailing World list of All-Star Crew were Navy's Kohl, Baldino and Smalley, and St. Mary's sailors Raley and Melanie Jubb.