Chase Cooper excelling at St Mary’s College
Chase Cooper is off to a blistering start competing for St Mary’s College of Maryland Sailing Team in the Mid-Atlantic Inter-Collegiate Association Spring National Championship.
The Bermuda sailor and American crew Sophie Taczak have won three of the four fleet racing regattas contested thus far, and are fresh off yet another podium display having finished third in their previous outing at last month’s Seahawk-Wave Showdown.
“Our goal, as always at St Mary’s, is to be a strong contender and competitive team at the Spring National Championship,” Cooper told The Royal Gazette.
“We are working hard, on and off the water, to try and make our goal come to fruition. Only time will tell.”
St Mary’s College sit atop of the fleet racing standings.
Cooper and his crew could not have asked for a better start to the season after reeling off three successive victories in their first three outings on the water.
The 22-year-old attributes this success to the considerable work that he and his colleagues have put in brushing up on the basics of the sport.
“The team and I put a fair amount of time in this fall to work on the fundamentals, which has proved to be beneficial when it came to competing against other teams,” he said.
“My crew, Sophie Taczak, and I were lucky enough to win the first three and come third in our most recent fleet racing regatta.”
The number of schools competing in the championship has been considerably reduced owing to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“This year has been very different because of Covid,” Cooper said. “Ordinarily at regattas, we sail against 17 other teams, but this year we’ve been limited to three teams.
“With the new format we have been able to focus on both fleet racing and team racing. Normally we focus on just team racing in the spring.”
Cooper has taken a particular liking to the team racing format.
“It is far more fast-paced and intellectually stimulating than fleet racing,” he said.
The championship is contested in the International Flying Junior dinghy more commonly referred to as the FJ.
“They are pretty standard boats,” Cooper added. “Their simplicity makes them easy to handle.
“There are only a few controls, which allow the boats to be very closely matched. Because of this, those with the best boat speed are usually consistently at the top of the fleet.”