Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

Sailing competing in the Cayuga Invite on Sept. 19, 2021

September 14, 2022

Sailing Team Dominates Competition in Wake of New Leadership

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The Cornell Sailing Team dominated their return to competition this weekend, earning first place titles at the King’s Point Women’s and Open Invite. These races marked Lior Lavie’s first collegiate wins as newly-appointed Ted Moore ’71 Director of Cornell Sailing. 

In the King’s Point Open, the Red quickly commanded the races. Scoring 22 points in the A division and 54 in the B, Cornell swept the competition with a total of 76 points. The second place team, SUNY Maritime, scored 105 points, giving the Red a clear path to victory. 

In the Women’s invite, Cornell raced against six other teams and yet again emerged victorious. Winning both the A and B divisions, the Red pulled ahead with a total of 49 points. UPenn (64) and Hobart William Smith (109) placed second and third, respectively. 

Lavie remarked that the team found such success due to the strong foundations formed during practice. 

“We’ve been working hard these past couple weeks at home with competitive practices,” Lavie said. “You could definitely see the outcome [of that hard work] and the way the sailors make decisions and react. It’s always nice to start [the season] this way and reconfirm that our hard work can pay off.”

These wins also ushered in the eras of two new members to the coaching staff: Assistant Coach Charlie Knape and Head Coach Lior Lavie. Prior to Cornell, Lavie sailed for eight years as a member of the Israeli national team and coached for over ten years at the club and Olympic development levels.

Lavie served as assistant coach to the team last year, working with the previous head coach, Brain Clancy. Lavie credits the majority of his smooth transition to his time spent learning from Clancy. 

“Brian has led this team for 12 years,” said Lavie. “He’s done an amazing job. He was an excellent mentor and leader for the entire team, and for myself. Now that I have transitioned into this new role, I feel prepared and already know how to take care of this team.”

Clancy led the team since 2010, four years before the team was promoted to the varsity level in 2014. During his reign, Clancy coached 10 All-American sailors and led the team to five women’s national championships appearances and five national titles. 

Building off of Clancy’s legacy, Lavie has found a close-knit community of athletes, with new friendships formed each week. He mainly attributes the welcoming environment to the upperclassmen who have assumed new leadership roles and connected with younger sailors. 

“Our upperclassmen are definitely stepping into their roles,” Lavie said. “They are embracing being the veterans of the team and showing the pathway for a healthy, cohesive environment.”

This year, Cornell is missing two valuable assets from its roster. All-American Brooke Shachoy ’22, who was the 2021-2022 MAISA Athlete Sailor of the Year, graduated last spring. Two-time conference champion, Lillian Myers, also leaves a new absence this season, having taken the year off to train for the Olympics. 

However, Lavie ensures that the team will bounce back to fill the new holes. 

“The team is the sum of all individuals,” Lavie said. “Those gaps are being filled right away by other leaders of the team who are stepping up. The foundation that Brian started and that we are continuing definitely allows the team to be sustainable and support each other even when we have this departure of athletes.”

For now, Lavie remains optimistic and excited for the upcoming season. 

“I am excited by the challenge and motivated by the athletes,” Lavie said. “I couldn’t be more happy than where I am right now with where the team is and all of the support around us.”

The Red will take to the water again at the Faye Bennett Laser Radial in Annapolis, Maryland on Sept. 17 and 18. That same weekend, Cornell will host the Jack Boehringer ’52 Memorial Regatta at its home waters of the Cayuga Lake inlet.