Greg Martinez C’16 wins the ICSA Men’s Singlehanded National Championship! 9th National Championship for Georgetown Sailing
It may sound cliché but last weekend was a great weekend to be a Hoya! Not only did we win our 9th National Championship behind a spectacular performance by Greg Martinez, but we had the whole Georgetown Sailing family chip in to help out. Last weekend showed why Georgetown Sailing is the best team at Georgetown and the best sailing team in the country.
The ICSA Men’s Singlehanded Championship was sailed in Newport, RI November 8, 9, 10. The 18 race regatta was sailed in some of the coldest sailing weather we have seen in a while. The breeze averaged about 15 mph with higher puffs. Each race was about a half hour long and the wind chill was in the 30’s. I barely survived sitting on the coach boat! For Greg to sail at a consistently high level throughout was simply amazing. But, what made this win even more remarkable was the talent level of the competition. Within the 18 boat fleet there was the reigning ISAF Youth World Champion Juan Perdomo (Harvard), the El Salvadoran Olympic Laser Sailor Enrique Arathoon (College of Charleston), past ISAF Youth World Champion Ian Barrows (Yale) and 4 time National Champion Laser Sailor Mitchell Kiss (Yale). Also sailing were All-Americans, High School National Champions and Olympic hopefuls. The fleet was stacked. If you polled the other coaches they would have said the regatta would be won by one of the four sailors mentioned above. I doubt anyone would have chosen Greg. Greg proved them all wrong.
Consistency was the deciding factor in the regatta. In the first ten races of the regatta Greg got a first, 7 seconds and two thirds. That helped Greg to a 16 point lead. The Charleston Sailor fouled twice and got DSQ’d for not doing his penalty. The Yale sailors fell behind in the big breeze. The Harvard sailor stayed close to Greg and at the end of day two was only 12 points back.
The last day was a stressful one. Six races left and 12 points between 1st and 2nd. The wind was blowing between 15-18 and the strong current made the racing less tactical and more about the start. Win the pin and go left and you win the race. The Harvard sailor won the pin in the first four races and Greg was more conservative choosing to stay towards the middle of the line. With a one side favored course Harvard rounded first at the windward mark almost every time. Greg would round about 8-10 and then catch boats each leg to finish anywhere from 3-5. Harvard chipped away at the lead and it was down to 6 points going into the last race. We kept expecting Harvard to try and match race Greg before the starts but they were content with trying to win the races and hope that Greg would have a bad one. The stress level on the coach boat and spectator boats was high for the last race. The current was slacking off and a huge storm cloud was approaching from Jamestown, RI. Harvard again won the pin and Greg was up the line near the boat. The storm cloud brought a right shift, which favored the boats near Greg, and he rounded the top mark in 2nd with Harvard in 8th. Greg covered Harvard the rest of the race finishing 6th in the race and winning the National Championship by 10 points.
Over the 18 race regatta Greg was never OCS, never fouled and never finished out of the top 10. It was that amazing consistency that proved to be the difference maker. Greg never got rattled, never panicked and never made a bad move on the course. It was an amazing win over an amazingly talented fleet of sailors. The fact that its our 9th for GUST should not diminish in any way what Greg accomplished. It may be the single best performance at a national championship regatta by any GUST sailor.
What made the win that much sweeter was all the help that GUST parents and sailors and alums provided over the course of the weekend. Greg had four teammates come up to Newport to root for him and provide shore support. Eliana Michaels, Lexi Coudert and Amanda and Claudia Taselaar paid their own way to Newport to support Greg. Pieter and Nina Taselaar brought Greg’s parents on the water for the final day to see their son win the championship. Peter Johns, past FGS president was the head judge for the regatta and his presence on the water kept the racing fair.
While Singlehanded Nationals were going on the team was training for Match Racing Nationals in St. Petersburg, FL in two weeks. Without any Sonars of our own we are at a big disadvantage. However, once again the GUST family pulled together to make a difference. Past FGS President Vince Behm arranged for the team to use two sonars at the Hampton Yacht Club this weekend. Vince and his wife Amy housed and fed our match racing team and their son Chris ’08 took some time out of his busy schedule to hang out with the team. While Janel and I were coaching our Singlehanded and Match Race teams we needed a third coach to drive a third team to Coast Guard and coach a team racing regatta. Dan Eichler ’13 stepped up to the plate and came down from Providence to coach our team racers.
It took a total team effort from sailors, parents and alumni to make everything work this weekend. The amount of supportive emails and texts from parents and alums throughout the weekend was fantastic. Like I said at the beginning it was a great weekend to be a Hoya.
We now have to change our recruiting pitch just a bit. It’s now 9 National Championships for GUST. Add to that one cross country and one men’s basketball and that’s a total of 11 National Championships for Georgetown Athletics! Your support made this success possible! Thank you!
GUST National Championships
Team Racing 2001, 2006
Fleet Racing 2008, 2012
2003,2005,2006 (Andrew Campbell)
2011 (Charlie Buckingham)
2013 (Greg Martinez)