Sailing qualifies for Sloops

This weekend, the sailing team showed exactly why some have it picked to finally topple Harvard from its seat atop the collegiate sailing world.

The Elis dominated all three major regattas they sailed in, not only placing second in the Mrs. Hurst Bowl at Dartmouth but also winning the Hatch Brown Trophy at Boston University outright — the first time No. 4 Yale has won a coed intersectional since February 2002. The Elis also finished second in the New England Sloop Championships, qualifying them for sloop nationals and bringing them a step closer to the Holy Grail of intercollegiate sailing — the Fowle Trophy. The school with the best overall performance in all six national sailing championships, of which one is sloops nationals, wins the Fowle. For the past four years, that school has been Harvard.

Matt Barry ’07, who skippered in A division at the Hatch Brown, said he was encouraged by Yale’s dominance of the New England sailing circuit this weekend.

“It shows the depth of the team that we’re able to go out to three separate regattas and win one of them and get second in the other two,” Barry said. “Most teams can go out and do well in only a single regatta every weekend, and yet we’re in three and we’re top in all of them.”

At the Hatch Brown, which was hosted by Boston University at MIT, Yale finished in the middle of the pack in A division, where Barry and crew Hannah Oakland ’07 finished eighth of 18.

But top freshman recruit Zach Brown ’08 and crew Sarah Himmelfarb ’06 dominated B division, placing first in six of 16 races and second another five times. Brown and Himmelfarb finished 31 points ahead of their nearest competitor — a very large margin of victory in any regatta, and enough to push the Bulldogs into first, 13 points ahead of second-place Dartmouth.

“Zach [Brown] won by a mile,” Barry said.

At the Mrs. Hurst in Hanover, another bunch of first-place finishes won the day for the No. 1 Yale women’s team. Between Molly Carapiet ’06 and Jenn Hoyle ’05 in A, and Emily Hill ’07 and Meghan Pearl ’06 in B, the Bulldogs won eight of the 28 raaces — more than any other team at the 18-school regatta.

Hill and Pearl finished second in B division with 78 points, while Carapiet and Hoyle’s 77 was enough for third in A division.

Hill said it was a relief to be back on the water and that there is still room for improvement.

“We were really excited to be back sailing and racing again,” Hill said. “We have a lot to work on and get back in the swing of things still.”

While the women’s team was wrapping up the competition at Dartmouth, Stu McNay ’05, Phil Stemler ’06, and Julie Papanek ’05 steered Yale to its first qualification for sloop nationals in recent memory. Sloops, unlike the other boats used in intercollegiate sailing, require a three person crew and use a spinnaker, an extra sail that is used while sailing downwind. They also require very experienced crew members — it was no accident that both McNay and Papanek are All-American skippers.

McNay said the decision to push for sloop nationals and the Fowle Trophy was based on the ever-increasing depth of the team.

“We went to sloops because we thought we finally had a chance,” McNay said. “Before we didn’t have the depth on our team to both win a dinghy intersectional on the same weekend as qualifying for a sloop national championship. Now that we can win dinghy regattas and we can expand into sloops.”

Hill said she was proud to see how many Elis got to sail this weekend.

“From the sloops to the coeds to the people we sent to the metro series [a non-varsity race held this weekend], it was nice to see the team be able to do so many different types of events,” Hill said.

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