Carapiet ’06 sets course for national title

In her return to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Vanguard North American Women’s Singlehanded Championship, All-American skipper Molly Carapiet ’06 will try to capture what barely evaded her grasp two years ago – a first place finish.

In 2002, Carapiet took second place at the event, narrowly losing to Old Dominion’s Anne Tunnicliffe at Rice University. This weekend, Carapiet will compete with 15 other sailors at Minnesota in hopes of improving that result.

“I expect some really good racing,” Carapiet said. “There should be a lot of good girls there, and I hope to sail my best.”

Carapiet, who led the nationally-ranked No. 2 Elis to a national championship last summer, finished fourth Sept. 25 at the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Vanguard North American Women’s Singlehanded Championship at MIT to qualify for the event.

The skipper has practiced once a week since qualifying for the regatta, trying to improve her control of the speedy one-person laser ship class. Women’s team captain Jennifer Hoyle ’05 said managing the laser will pose a challenge for Carapiet.

“The lasers are designed for someone a little bigger than [Carapiet],” Hoyle said. “But if anyone can do it, she can.”

Hoyle added that Carapiet’s commitment to sailing the best she can on her boat, despite any bad weather conditions, is her greatest strength.

“She works harder and is more dedicated than anyone I’ve ever sailed with,” Hoyle said. “She is mentally tough, so she is good at dealing with any sort of conditions that may come up.”

Other than Carapiet, 12 other sailors will be competing this weekend in three other regattas. Emily Hill ’07, Meghan Pearl ’06, Kendra Emhiser ’07 and Natalie Kitchen ’05 will sail at the Stu Nelson Trophy women’s competition at Connecticut College Saturday and Sunday. Phil Stemler ’07 with crew Hilary Shapiro ’08 and Zach Brown ’08 with crew Sarah Himmelfarb ’06 will compete at the co-ed Sherman Hoyt Trophy competition at Brown at the same time. Finally, fleet captain Matt Barry ’07 with crew Hannah Oakland ’07 and Benoit Bewley ’05 with crew Courtney Cox ’06 will compete for the Oberg Trophy Sunday at MIT.

For the Elis, the toughest competition will be at the Hoyt and Nelson regattas.

“The competition will be stiff at the Hoyt Trophy,” Stu McNay ’05 said. “All the top New England schools will be there. At the Stu Nelson [Trophy], there will be about the same mix of good schools.”

The Bulldogs have already qualified for the Schell Trophy Championships Oct. 30-31 because of their second-place finish at the Danmark Trophy competition at the Coast Guard Academy Oct. 2-3. The results of this weekend’s regattas will not have any effect on national qualifiers, but will have an effect on national rankings. While the women’s team is currently ranked second nationally, the co-ed squad is nationally-ranked No.4.

The Bulldogs will focus on executing what they have done on the waters during the week, McNay said.

“We’ll try to race as we’ve been practicing,” he said. “We’ve got some of the best sailors in the country on our team, so our practices are very tough, and we learn a lot from each other. If we can transfer it to these regattas, we will continue to succeed.”

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