Sportsmanship at its Best - Six and Rogers Two ILYA Sailors Recognized by US Sailing

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19 October 2009

from US Sailing

Meg SixMeg Six

The Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association (MCSA) had their Singlehanded Championships on Oct. 10-11 at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee, Wisc. Each regional qualifier sends their top finishing sailors to the National Championships. Those who have sailed at the collegiate level know how competitive it is. So much is on the line, while representing themselves as individual sailors, they are also competing on behalf of their team and their school.

However, the competitive nature of the MCSA Singlehanded Regionals last weekend did not jeopardize the sport of sailing's Corinthian spirit and sportsmanship that was on display. In the women's division, Michigan State's Lauren-Alyssa Knoles was leading by a narrow margin on the final day of racing when disaster struck. Lauren's mast broke at the rivet, and it appeared that not only would she not win, but her shot at qualifying for nationals had evaporated immediately. In a state of shock, Lauren was approached by Wisconsin sailor, Megan Six, who gave Lauren her boat to finish the race with since she was ahead and on track to qualify. Lauren graciously accepted and Megan towed in Lauren's broken down Laser Radial. Lauren did not win the championship, but more importantly, she qualified for nationals.

"She was the only reason I qualified," said Lauren. "Had she not given up her own boat, I would be sitting out the rest of the day."

"I gave up my boat because I wanted to make sure that our best sailors could go to nationals and represent the Midwest," explained Megan. "I hope that someone would do the same for me."

Megan (Fontana, Wis.) began sailing when she was 11-years-old in a Pram. She took summer sessions at the Geneva Lake Sailing School in Fontana, where she has taught lessons for the last five years. Megan's love for racing motivated her to help start a sailing team at her high school.

Megan is now a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, which is hosting the ICSA National Championships. "I'm really excited about having this event on the team's home lake," she added. "We've been working really hard planning, organizing, and fundraising for the regatta."

Sam RogersSam Rogers

Sailor of the Week: October 1-7

It was reported by the National Class E Scow Association that there were two winners of the 2009 Blue Chip Regatta, hosted by the Pewaukee Yacht Club (Wis.) on Sept. 25-27. Technically there was only one winner, Vincent Porter, and deservedly so. Vincent and his crew sailed extremely well to win the regatta. However, there was another admirable team worthy of recognition from this event.

Sam Rogers and his team of Chrisy Hughes, and Tony and Lynn Jewett were in first place by a point over Vincent's team going into the final race. "Our team has sailed well all year, but we really found our mode at this year's Blue Chip Regatta," said Sam. "We were sailing well enough to compete for the title going into the last race."

After the fifth and final race on Saturday, the principal race officer brought it to Sam's attention that a competitor noticed his team used two different spinnakers throughout the regatta. Sam was under the impression the rule applied to each race of the event, not the whole series. After learning what the actual rule was, Sam asked the race committee to withdraw his team from races 2 and 3. It turns out Sam used a newer white spinnaker in the first race and then an older black spinnaker in races 2 and 3. Then he used his white spinnaker for race 4. The black spinnaker is a little older and is of a different material than the white one, but both spinnakers were the same size and shape. His preference was to use the black spinnaker when there was more wind and the white newer spinnaker in the lighter winds.

Realizing he broke a class rule, Sam and his team withdrew from races 2 and 3, when he used the black spinnaker. The competitors were hoping there was another option for Sam. They wanted a solution that did not penalize Sam and his team to such an extent. However, it was Sam's choice to stand by his decision to withdraw from the races. "We broke a class rule and there was no disputing that," Sam explained. "Withdrawing from the races was the proper course of action."

Sam's team came up short of winning this year's Blue Chip Regatta. However, the display of sportsmanship they showed won over the respect of all their competitors.

Sam started sailing with his father at the age of 9. He raced X boats on Lake Minnetonka (Minn.) whenever the opportunity presented itself. Sam raced for four years on the varsity sailing team at Hobart College. Sam sails professionally now, after spending three years working at Melges Performance Sailboats and North Sails Zenda.

Sam's schedule is full of Melges 32 sailing this winter with the Samba Pa Ti program. He is also part of a Melges 24 team that will compete at the Melges 24 World Championship in Annapolis, Md. on Oct. 23-31.

"Our E Scow team is already looking forward to next summer," added Sam. "And we'll be using only one spinnakerSam Rogers from Minnetonka was recognized following the E Blue Chip.

Congrats to our two ILYA sailors who exemplify what we are all about. To read articles like these or to enjoy the US Sailing e-newsletter, join US Sailing. And receive a rule book too - all the more reason for all of us to belong to our national organizing authority, US Sailing.