Sailing team qualifies for national competition

The University of Minnesota sailing team has come a long way since it’s founding three years ago.
Together with the efforts of former Olympic sailing coach, Gordy Bowers, and a dedicated group of collegiate sailors, Minnesota earned a trip to the national sailing championships at the Midwestern Collegiate Sailing Association Dinghy Championships at Northwestern University.
Nine teams competed for the top two positions on Lake Michigan — the top two move on to nationals. Minnesota picked up the second of those positions and qualified with Michigan for the national meet in early June.
“I was most excited because we sail Lake Minnetonka and Northwestern sails Lake Michigan,” team member Lyndsie Hakala said. “They’re very different lakes, they had an advantage and we beat them.”
Minnesota sailed well under the pressure and intensity associated with this national qualifying regatta. As inland sailors practicing four days a week out of Wayzata, Minnesota arrived at Lake Michigan with little big-water sailing experience
But with the promise of a national berth on the line, Minnesota’s excitement carried the team.
“Variable sailing conditions means that the playing field is never a constant,” coach Bowers said. “Our sailors were able to adjust accordingly and it made the difference.”
Lyndsie Hakala crewed for A fleet skipper Hans Zinn, and Jill Larson crewed for B fleet skipper Tim Krech with Carrie Steeves as an alternate crew. Both teams finished strong after making critical adjustments on Sunday when the winds increased, directly affecting the size of the swells and the tension on the course.
The team’s qualification for the national meet is a feather in a cap for the young, enthusiastic team.
The team will head out to King’s Point, New York for the national sailing club championships, June 5-7. And the team can expect similar conditions to those at Northwestern — the national meet is held on the Atlantic Ocean.

— From area press release and staff reports