The women’s sailing team got a rare opportunity to compete in their kind of weather at the Yale Women’s Intersectional Regatta this past weekend.
The 2004 Ivy League champs took first place at the regatta for the second year in a row, battling against extremely choppy waters and harsh winds. Mother Nature prompted officials to end the races early on Sunday, after a large number of boats capsized.
“It was one of the days that sailors live for,” Julie Papanek ’06 said. “It was too bad that so many people were out of control that we had to come in, because I know all the members for the Yale team were ready and excited to compete.”
After completing only eight races on Sunday, the A division barely got in two races before officials called back the boats due to the winds, giving the win to Yale, who led the pack by a 13-point margin. The win, while a little unconventional, was enough to qualify the Elis for the Atlantic Coast Championships in November.
Ranked second in the nation by the Sailing World Coaches Poll, the Bulldogs began the weekend with a performance that reflected their current collegiate standings. On Saturday, the A boat, which was skippered by Molly Carapiet ’06 and crewed by Papanek, took first in two of its four races, clinching the lead in the A division heading into Sunday. Many of the other boats were not able to finish some of the races due to the unusually tough conditions.
“After the first race, I remember Molly [Carapiet] and I finished first and were waiting for the next race to start, when I looked back up wind to see that half the fleet was capsized,” Papanek said. “It was total carnage.”
In the B fleet, skipper Emily Hill ’07 and crew Kendra Emhizer ’07 fared as well as Carapiet and Papanek, securing two first place finishes, a third, and a fifth.
“The whole team sailed really well on Saturday,” Carapiet said. “We had a lot of great support since it was a home event, and I think that helped us sail our best, even in the tough conditions.”
Yale sailors attributed some of the weekend’s success to the type of training that they endure.
“Unlike many of the New England teams, we train on the open ocean,” Emhizer said. “This is very different than training on a river like the Charles River, which is what many of the Boston teams do. With the conditions we face in practice, we are usually ready for anything we see in competition.”
The Elis train out of the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Branford, Conn.
Next on the schedule for Yale is this weekend’s Stu Nelson Regatta at Connecticut College, which will serve as a qualifying regatta for another Northeast team. With a qualifying spot for the ACCs secured, Yale heads into this weekend’s events confident and focused.
“Frankly, I’m very proud of the women sailors on our team after this weekend,” Papanek said. “We were well prepared and the most capable to handle the strong winds out of any of our competition, hands down.”
Yale will have to compete, however, without Carapiet, who will travel to Minnesota to challenge for the Women’s Singlehanded National Title.
“I am really excited to be competing at this regatta this year,” Carapiet said. “I am just going to try and sail the best regatta I can and have fun.”
While the women won in Branford, the No. 4 coed team succeeded away from home this weekend, finishing second at the 20-team, four-division Navy Fall Intersectional.