Just over a month into its season, Cornell sailing still only has one goal: continue to focus on competing with the best of the best as it looks to improve its performance.
And if recent results are to be believed, the team has not had much difficulty sticking to this objective.
The team’s biggest win of the year, so far, has been a first place finish in a national event at the Naval Academy — which head coach Brian Clancy referred to as “probably the most impressive win we’ve ever had as a program.”
This event was the Jen Harris Women’s Regatta, held in late September, in which the Big Red placed a stunning first of 17 teams. Cornell also placed third in the national championships under Clancy’s coaching in 2013, the year before women’s sailing was elevated to varsity status.
But as Clancy sees it, the dominating finish represented the team’s greatest accomplishment only from a ‘results standpoint.’
Instead, the coach believes the squad’s collective core values constitute the more impressive aspect of the program.
“Our greatest accomplishment this season, so far, is our ability to have mutual respect for people,” Clancy said.
And given the co-ed nature of the team, this acceptance is vital to its success.
“Men and women — or just humans for that matter — just compete,” Clancy said, paying careful attention to use inclusive language to better illustrate the team’s culture.
Though some regattas are co-ed, whereas others allow only women to participate, Clancy views the entire sailing team as a singular unit.
When speaking about the team, Clancy does not refer to the differences between the co-ed and all-women’s regattas aside from the aspect of uniqueness that this system brings to the sport.
“I don’t think anyone else does that,” Clancy said proudly of the sport’s co-ed nature.
Clancy did not mention any sailors by name, and instead spoke highly of the entire senior class — boasting that they “show a great deal of leadership” and “even when we’re not in team practices … they’re still holding the values high for the team.”
The team will look to maintain its competitive edge, even as schoolwork intensifies in this part of the year.
“We’ve got our academics to make sure we’re staying on top of. We’ve got our aspirations, healthy life balances, staying consistent, that’s the challenge,” Clancy said. “But we’re in the midst of it — we’re in the heart of the season.”
Cornell’s record has been somewhat inconsistent on paper; its results span from a 16th of 17 finish at the Faye Bennett Laser Radial competition to its first place finish at the Naval Academy.
Despite the wide range, the Red has still managed to hold its own against a number of tough teams, and aims to keep up momentum as it gears up for its final four regattas.
“I could not be more proud of our team,” Clancy said. “We know we’re capable of being really successful … our goal is to continue to work hard and peak at the right times.”
“We’re out on a natural arena. Cayuga Lake … is a big part of Cornell University — it’s a staple,” Clancy added.
Perhaps Cornell sailing will engrain itself in Cornell’s fabric just as Cayuga has.