Strong winds in April affect rowing and sailing practices – TommieMedia

The view of the Mississippi River from the lookout near Summit Ave. The St. Thomas Rowing Club practices on the Mississippi River, although high winds have changed practice schedules. (Sabrina Thompson/TommieMedia)

April was the windiest month in Minnesota this year, and St. Thomas sailing and rowing clubs have noticed changes in practices and races.

Rowing is a spring sport, even though it is practiced all year round. High winds in April prevented the rowing team from practicing on the Mississippi River, said junior Brayden Leloup, president of the St. Thomas rowing team.

“When it’s windy, the waves can get pretty bad. There were certainly a few days when we couldn’t row on the river because of the wind,” said Leloup.

Rowing is a weather-dependent sport; This year’s spring weather in April produced the highest monthly total precipitation since 2017. In addition, the average wind speed in April was 18.7 kilometers per hour, with wind and wind speeds being high due to severe weather conditions.

“Due to the wind, rain and river flooding, it is sometimes difficult to get on the water in the spring. Some of the rain and wind we’ve had has made it difficult to get out,” Leloup said.

Sailing, like rowing, depends on weather patterns for practice and success. Sophomore Rakesh Dhiman, president of the St. Thomas Sailing Club, said the wind has a big impact on sailing.

“The wind has to hit the sail at a certain angle for it to function. If we go straight into the wind direction, where the wind is coming from, it doesn’t work. When we race, we put a buoy upwind and have a starting line upwind,” Dhiman said.

According to Dhiman, the increased winds in April have not been all bad.

“More wind speed means our boats sail faster,” Dhiman said.

Sophomore Brady Boland said a higher body weight when sailing is helpful in high wind speeds.

“I usually have an advantage. The more angle you have towards the up mark during a race, the faster you’ll get there. In heavier winds, lighter sailors have to go further away, otherwise they would capsize completely,” said Boland.

Dhiman and Boland agreed that despite the weather conditions, they enjoyed participating in the sailing club.

“It’s a tough sport, but there’s no better feeling in the world than when you do well,” Dhiman said.

“Personally I like this higher wind. It’s been great for me and even more fun. A lot more first places,” Boland said.

Sabrina Thompson can be reached at [email protected].