Young sailors struggle



The Yale sailing teams had mixed regatta results this weekend, finishing fourth in a major women’s varsity event and second in a coed junior varsity event at home. But the Elis took a drubbing in two away coed events, including an important varsity intersectional.

The high point of the Elis’ weekend came at Dartmouth, where current New England women’s singlehanded champion Molly Carapiet ’06 and promising new recruit Emily Hill ’07 combined to finish fourth in the women’s Mrs. Hurst Bowl. It was Hill’s first major varsity regatta on the intercollegiate level, and she finished five of 18 in B division in the tough, shifty conditions at Dartmouth. Hill’s final score was just two points behind Tufts, which finished fourth.

Carapiet, who returned to Hanover, N.H., for the second weekend in a row (she sailed in the coed Captain Hurst Bowl Sept. 13 to 14), did even better than her younger teammate. Carapiet finished third in A Division, behind Tufts and eventual champion Dartmouth. Women’s team captain Jenn Hoyle ’05 crewed for Carapiet, and Meridith Killion ’05 crewed for Hill.

Hoyle said the results were good news for the nationally ranked No. 2 women’s sailing team.

“We have three incredibly capable women’s skippers,” said Hoyle of Carapiet, Hill and Julie Papanek ’05. “Our results this weekend have supported our national ranking, but I still think we have room for improvement. It’s a great place to be at the beginning of the season.”

The Bulldogs’ success in the Mrs. Hurst was counterbalanced by a deeply disappointing No. 13 finish in the Nevins Trophy at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., this weekend. The race is one of the first of the all-important intersectional regattas that count toward national rankings. Three divisions of sailors, instead of the normal two, count in the Nevins — two of the standard two-person boat, the 420, and a C Division of the faster, one-person lasers. In addition to the regatta’s odd format, the Nevins was more difficult because of the unique conditions at Kings Point: constantly choppy seas and very light winds.

Hoyle said the young team worked hard despite its disappointing performance.

“There wasn’t a lot of varsity experience among the kids sailing,” Hoyle said. “They kept their heads up and worked hard the entire time.”

Yale finished No. 14 in A division and No. 15 in B division. Laser sailor Matt Barry ’07 finished No. 10 in C division, not enough to pull Yale into the top half of the 20-team field.

Kate Littlefield ’04, the coed team captain, crewed for skipper Phil Stemler ’07 in the Nevins. Littlefield said the conditions combined with the inexperience of Yale’s skippers to hamper the Elis. Two of the skippers (Barry in C Division and Stemler in B division) were rookies, and both A division sailors were sophomores: Eivind Karlsen ’06 and his crew, Courtney Cox ’06. The conditions were very different from those at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, or YCYC, in Branford where the team practices.

Littlefield said she remains confident in the coed squad’s ability to perform.

“We need to be able to execute outside of practice, and that will come with experience and time,” Littlefield said. “We are a young team, and we had a learning experience, but a learning experience the hard way.”

The coed team also had a lackluster performance at the Casco Bay Open at Bowdoin College, where Yale finished 10 of 11 in B Division and dead last in A Division to scratch out a No. 10 finish overall. Yale was hampered by boat breakdowns in B division, inexperience in A division, and shifty, unfamiliar conditions. A Division skipper Kendra Emhiser ’07 is a rookie, and Mike Renda ’04 had boat breakdowns in three of his 10 B Division races.

Larks, the boats Bowdoin uses, are very different from the boats the Elis normally use. Still, the Bulldogs were surprised by how tough the regatta was, Renda said.

“I don’t know if we expected the level of competition we actually got,” Renda said. “The Dartmouth team won nearly every race, and the whole thing was mentally kind of draining.”

In fact, the only consolation for Yale in coed regattas this weekend was at home, where experienced senior Erik Hayward ’04 and YCYC commodore Dana Worth ’04 led the Bulldogs to a second place finish behind Connecticut College in the Yale Invitational.

Worth and his crews Marisa Benoit ’05 and Hannah Oakland ’07 finished first in A Division; Hayward and crew Nell Larson ’05 finished second in B Division. Each division in the five-team competition sailed eight races, with Yale falling short of first place in the regatta by only five points.

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