In sailing, the weather is everything.
On a cold weekend, harsh and fickle wind conditions kept the No. 2 Elis to a fourth- and fifth-place finish at two New England regattas, even as similar weather allowed All-American skipper Molly Carapiet ’06 to take third at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Vanguard North American Women’s Singlehanded Championship in Minnesota
Yale placed fourth at the Stu Nelson Trophy at Connecticut College and fifth at the Sherman Hoyt Trophy at Brown.
Carapiet’s performance was perhaps the most inspiring of the weekend competitions. Wind speeds at around 18 to 22 knots and the size of the laser class boats used in the Singlehanded Championships challenged Carapiet’s small frame, women’s captain Jen Hoyle ’05 said.
“Saturday it was really windy [in Minnesota],” she said. “Despite her small weight for the type of boat they were sailing, she did really well.”
Carapiet finished second in the Singlehanded Championships in Texas in 2002, but did not qualify for the regatta last year.
As a team, the Bulldogs have already qualified for the Atlantic Coast Championships Nov. 13-14 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, meaning that this weekend’s other regattas have no effect on the Yale women’s team’s quest for a second consecutive national title or the coed team’s quest for their first.
At the Stu Nelson competition, skipper Kendra Emhiser ’07 and crew Natalie Kitchen ’05 finished sixth place in the B division. Skipper Emily Hill ’07 and crew Meghan Pearl ’06 competed in the A division and took second place. Scores from both divisions were combined for a fourth place overall finish.
For the Elis, the windy conditions and strong current were the primary challenges.
“One of our problems was that the wind was very shifty, which meant that if you were caught in the wrong part of the course, it was impossible to catch the wind, and that was magnified by the current,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen added that the stronger Hill and Pearl used the wind to their advantage and were able to perform well.
“It was very windy on the first day, which meant that strength was a big issue,” Kitchen said. “That’s something that [Hill] is very good at; she and [Pearl] are very strong.”
Despite nabbing first place in several races, an illegal move by a Boston University boat in the last race cost Emhiser and Kitchen a better finish.
In an attempt to avoid trespassing the starting line, a Terrier boat ran into Emhiser’s boat, tangling the two vessels together and delaying the Elis by several minutes. Boston was penalized for the foul but the damage could not be undone.
“It’s very upsetting when someone fouls you,” Kitchen said. “It made us really significantly behind the rest of the pack and there was no way to catch up and no way to get redress.”
At the Sherman Hoyt Trophy, Phil Stemler ’07 and crew Hilary Shapiro ’08 finished 10th place in the A division. Zach Brown ’08 and crew Sarah Himmelfarb ’06 took first in the B division.
At Brown too, the windy conditions and strong current proved difficult to manage.
“I had a hard time reading the wind,” Stemler said. “[Shapiro] and I were fast all weekend. But if you’re reading the wind wrong, you’re going to be hauling ass the wrong way.”
Stemler is a contributing reporter for the Yale Daily News.
Though their performances this weekend leave the Elis with a slightly bitter taste, the Yale sailors said they took the results in stride.
“I feel like I could have done better,” Stemler said. “But whatever, I got to learn from this regatta and have a good time sailing.”