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College Racing To Bring 100+ Sailors To Town
Support Sought For SailPack Oriental Interconference Regatta
March 16, 2017

he average age of sailors in Oriental will fall rather dramatically on the first weekend in April. More than 100 college sailors are expected to come to Oriental for the 2017 Sailpack Oriental Interconference Regatta on the Neuse on Saturday and Sunday April 1-2. 18 college sailing teams from New York to Florida have registered.

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With this regatta, NC State’s sailing team – the SailPack – and the town of Oriental are rounding a big mark. The Sailpack hosted regattas in the past two years here – but they were invitationals and drew 5 teams.

This year, more than 3 times as many teams are coming because, as coach Dana Magliola notes, it’s an official interconference event recognized by ICSA – the Inter-collegiate Sailing Association, the governing body of college sailing.

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FJ’s and the Oriental bridge.

As in other years, NC State’s sailing team and Oriental are teaming up to host the regatta.

The Sailpack began coming to Oriental about 4 years ago as some local sailors sought ways to attract a new generation of sailors to town and to the sailing right off shore. Some of the team, among them, team captain Kara Wheeler, Jackie Welles and McKenna Marquardt — grew up or have family in Oriental.

Coach Magliola says the town has become a “second home” to the team because they can train here – and host events such as this regatta – more easily than in Raleigh. He cites the sailing conditions on the Neuse and the ease of using the 18 FJ racing boats in the fleet at Jim Edwards’ Bow To Stern Boating Center. (Another plus is not having to trailer boats in.)

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Jim Edwards of Bow to Stern and SailPack coach, Dana Magliola.

“It’s a great fleet and the conditions are perfect,” says Magliola, “Everything is perfect about sailing in Oriental.”

The Sailpack keeps returning for another reason, this one on land: the welcome the young racers get in town (where their presence brings down the average sailor’s age – substantially.)

Dana Magliola says that the team’s felt as if it had “been adopted.”

With this regatta, he’s expecting that the students from the other schools will experience Oriental that way, too, Usually, the coach tells Town Dock, when teams travel to regattas, they are on their own, in a hotel or camping.

TownDock.net caught up with Bow to Stern Boating’s Jim Edwards to talk about the regatta which will be based out of his boating center. The recording was made in early March when the NCState sailors were using their spring break to practice on the boating center’s FJ’s:

By contrast, in Oriental, the town itself has welcomed the racers in a more outgoing way, from social events to a banner strung across Broad Street that has welcomed them. (Students whose sport is sailing are not accustomed to the level of attention that football or basketball players get.)

Recognizing that sailing clubs and teams do not enjoy travel budgets like the football and basketball teams’, residents have also opened their homes to the young sailors.

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Flying Juniors from the Bow to Stern fleet. All 18 FJ’s will be on the water for the Regatta.

This year, with the number of racing teams more than tripling, even more of those accommodations and financial support may be needed. Coach Magliola and Jim Edwards of Bow to Stern are seeking lodging and financial contributions to pay for other parts of the weekend plans, including a Saturday oyster roast pig pickin’ at the Red Rooster — at which the college sailors will be guests.

The organizers have created a way to contribute on line, so that those who wish to support the regatta can designate that funds go to paying for specific aspects of the weekend. For instance, donors can help cover costs of lodging, or sustenance for the sailors.

The crews will be on the water from about 9a-3p on Saturday the 1st and from 9a-1:30p on Sunday April 2. It should be within viewing distance from Lou Mac Park.

Magliola and Edwards say they expect the event may also draw families of the competitors, as began to happen last year when the event was an invitational.

The Sailpack coach is enthusiastic about the regatta evolving and attracting so many teams this year to Oriental. “The only thing not in Oriental yet that I’d like to see is a great big sign at the entrance to town that says,‘Welcome to Oriental. Training Home of the NC State SailPack.’ Dana Magliola says, “but i haven’t painted that sign yet and put it up when no one was looking.”

Posted Thursday March 16, 2017 by Keith N. Smith

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