Sailing Team Achieves Best Season in Team History


Though the Fordham sailing team failed to advance to the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ISCA) Coed Dinghy National Championships this past weekend, making it to the semifinals was an historic accomplishment in and of itself for the team. In an effort that was pioneered by a couple of Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s (FCLC) own students, the Sailing Rams took eighth place and the final qualifying spot in the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA) Championships.

Emma Pfohman, FCLC ’13, and Dan Canziani, FCLC ’14, spearheaded a winning effort for Fordham as the Rams were neck-and-neck with Cornell University throughout the MAISA Championships for the last ISCA bid. Entering the second day of competition with a 20 point lead, Fordham saw its competition draw close following the first race, as Cornell finished 17 points better and shrunk the difference down to three. From there on out, however, Fordham crushed their closest competitors, finishing the day some 46 points ahead of Cornell, and only 11 out of seventh place.

For Canziani, having fallen just short of advancing stung a bit, though he was proud of his team’s accomplishments. “Though we didn’t end up qualifying, we got 11th out of 18th, and the top nine teams went on to finals, so we only missed it by a few spots,” said Canziani. “It was still pretty impressive that we made it to semifinals.”

When asked about taking the team to historic heights, Canziani reflected on how far they’ve come in his three years. “It was really an amazing thing,” said Canziani. “Since we started the program, it has been one of our goals to win, but at least to qualify, and the fact that we’ve finally done it is just a great thing. We’ve put in so much work, it’s nice to have it somewhat pay off.”

The junior year sailor spent the MAISA Championships sailing in A Division races with Connor Godfrey, Fordham College at Rose Hill ’16. The duo consistently finished their day two races with scores hovering at around 10 points, enough to keep Cornell at bay. Canziani saw his teammate as indicative of what should be a bright future for the program.

“We got a new coach last year, and he did a great job recruiting a bunch of great freshmen, and it’s really shown,” Canziani said. “I mean, just the fact that our top skipper is a freshman really speaks to that. I think all the freshmen are a great group.”

The new coach in question, Reed Johnson, is held in high esteem amongst his FCLC sailors, and has been a key part in helping the team to its great accomplishments this past year, from shooting up to the number 17 rank this past fall to the recent qualifying bid at the MAISA Championships. His attitude regarding the team’s newest peak focused on the team as a whole, in addition to the four individuals who sailed at the MAISA Championships.

“Obviously, I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment for the team,” Johnson said. “As much as it was a great accomplishment for the four people that sailed in the regatta that qualified us, I think, more than anything, it was a phenomenal accomplishment for the entire team itself. We wouldn’t have gotten to that point if it weren’t for all the hard work of every member of our team from the most experienced to the least experienced. I think that that’s what our team should be most proud of.”

As for the team’s future, both Canziani and Johnson see great things. “We’ve got an even more impressive group of kids coming in next year, so I think that, now that we’ve finally made it to nationals, I think that it’ll probably happen again next year,” said Canziani. “We’ll probably have a better chance for qualifying for finals, not just semifinals, and maybe getting a pretty good position once we’re there.”

Johnson drew attention in particular to the team’s relatively strong performance at the semifinals. “We finished 11th out of 18 teams,” said Johnson. “Our bracket was a nightmare bracket compared to the other one. If you had asked me whether or not we’d qualify before the weekend, I would’ve said we would have to have had a pretty flawless weekend to make it through to the national championship. With that being said, I was very proud of how our team sailed. We were qualifying 60 percent of the way through the regatta, but just didn’t end as strongly. While we fell short of qualifying for the nationals, it was still a phenomenal accomplishment to get there, and it’s something that, hopefully, our team will build upon as we move forward.”

If the hype is to be believed (and the team has certainly given good reasons to buy in), look for the sailing team to continue to achieve new and better things in the coming season.