W&L Senior’s Sailing Successes

Rigamaroo Racing features W&L senior Thomas Meric, trimmer, (third from left) and teammates (l-r) Norman Vallette, Jr (tactician and main trimmer)., Michael Levert (foredeck), Patrick Ryan (helmsman), Andrew Eyring (trimmer).

After winning a major victory in the Oakcliff Invitational regatta in Oyster Bay, N.Y., last month, Washington and Lee senior Thomas Meric and his four teammates for New Orleans-based Rigamaroo Racing will be in action in Chicago today, competing in the Chicago Match Cup Grade 2 at the Navy Pier. The event is the first of four grade-two events that constitute the Grand Slam series, and Thomas and Rigamaroo have been invited to all four.

Thomas, an economics and theatre major at W&L, began match racing with two of his teammates, fellow New Orleanian Norman Vallette Jr. and Shawn Patrick Ryan of Meterie in 2007. The three, plus teammate Michael Levert, had grown up sailing small dinghies such as Optimistics, Sunfish and Lightnings at the Southern Yacht Club. Now they’ve advanced to sailing against many accomplished sailors. The fifth member of their team is Andrew Eyring of Baltimore (and Tulane).

In the Oakcliff Regatta, Rigamaroo won 10 out of 10 races. Thomas explained, “We sailed Swedish match 40s, which require a crew of five, against seven other teams and won every race. The conditions were light to moderate, but sailing a 40-foot boat with only five people is difficult in any kind of breeze.”

You can see Rigamaroo in action on its web page in several YouTube clips, and this weekend’s Chicago event will be streamed live on the Internet. In addition to the Chicago event, Rigamaroo will be competing in Detroit later this month and then at the U.S. Match Racing Championship Grade 3 in October in California. The team’s short-term goal is to compete in all four regattas that comprise the inaugural United States Grand Slam Series, which represents an opportunity not only to advance the team’s ISAF ranking, but also to compete against many top-ranked  of the world’s top-ranked sailors in the Argo World Cup and Congressional Cup.



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