After years of wanting to join forces, the Midwest College Sailing Association (MCSA) is excited to hold its annual Midwinters Conference in conjunction with Strictly Sail Chicago. The collaboration came together with help from Harken representative Bill Goggins who acted as the liaison, working with Navy Pier and Sail America to make the weekend a reality. Members of the MCSA are especially excited about the event because they see it as the first step in bringing their slice of college sailing to the greater Midwest sailing community.
Throughout Saturday, 150 sailors from 27 schools in the Midwest will have the opportunity to experience first-rate speakers, quality seminars and great evening entertainment. The focus will be two-fold: to prepare the district for another year of competition, and, through events and seminars, to provide sailors with the resources they need to intertwine college sailing with post-college life, be it professionally or as a passion. Keynote speaker Patty Lawrence, president of the Thistle Class association, will focus her presentation on teaching college sailors how to effectively make this transition. Midwinters co-chair Evan Quasney said, “[Co-chair] Pat and I are looking forward to some great speakers, great discussions, and really exciting events on Saturday.”
MCSA meetings will take place in the Navy Pier conference rooms overlooking Strictly Sail, so sailors can peruse the booths in their free time and take part in Strictly Sail events, all part of their Midwinters fee. With the highest projected turnout on record, Quasney hopes this will be “the best Midwinters the MSCA has seen in 20 years.” The schedule is as follows:
0800: Registration Begins at Navy Pier
Teams can pick up floor plans, registration packets, and t-shirts at registration table
0900: Welcome and Roll Call
Roll Call ceremony will include opening remarks from Harken representative Bill Goggins
1000: MCSA Annual Meeting
The MSCA will hold elections for next year’s officers, including Graduate Secretary, which is up for reelection as Michigan Alum Jenn Hockema ends her three-year term. Teams will also discuss proposals on the floor, including the ICSA’s recent decisions to include a semi-finals round for women’s nationals and to host semifinals in Boston.
1130: Scheduling Meeting
Every team in the district will sign up for regattas for the 2009 sailing year in an NFL-draft style procedure. Teams with the highest regatta attendance records will select first and so on, until every berth is filled.
1300: Lunch Break
1400: Seminars 1 & 2: Boathandling and Team Racing
1500: Seminars 3 & 4: Sailing in Current and TBA
Seminars will be lead by Betsy Altman, a US Sailing Team racer, Frank Utsach, the former head coach for Chicago Yacht Club, and Craig Capilla.
1600: Midwinters Conference Adjournment
2000: Banquet @ John Barleycorn Bar & Grille
In true MCSA style, sailors will join up in Wrigleyville to celebrate the start of a new year of sailing together. Keynote speaker Patty Lawrence will speak after dinner, followed by the 2008 MCSA awards ceremony, including All-District Skipper/Women’s Skipper/Crew, Best Regatta, Sportsmanship Award and Student Leadership Award.
2230: The Game Show Show ... and Stuff! Improv Seating at Lakeshore Theater
The late night entertainment begins at 2230, featuring a private showing of an improv comedy troupe performing an evening of MCSA-themed entertainment.