Switching up the boats can be fatal, but the new line-ups did not throw the Elis off thanks to home-field advantage and great communication skills.
In one of their only fall races at home in Branford, the No. 1 women’s sailing team came out on top of one of the major events of this season, the Women’s Intersectional at Yale. Despite an unusual northerly wind, the Elis were able to come back from second place after day one, clinching their win with 84 points by pushing out St. Mary’s, Brown and Navy.
“It is good for our ranking,” skipper Emily Hill ’07 said. “It guaranteed us a spot in the Atlantic Coast Championships in November.”
In each intersectional, the top two teams qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championships. With three intersectionals, a total of six New England teams will qualify to compete for the title of best team on the East coast.
In the A division, Hill and crew Meghan Pearl ’06 finished second with 41 points, just behind St. Mary’s. In the B division, skipper Kendra Emhiser’s ’07 boat came in second as well with 43 points after switching crews after day one, rotating Hilary Shapiro ’08 in for Hannah Oakland ’07. Oakland said Yale head coach Zack Leonard switched crews because he wanted to give her and Shapiro time to sail. And with the difficult conditions, it was important that Emhiser could communicate what she as skipper needed done.
“Communication was really important on Saturday because there was a lot of changes in velocity and direction, which required a lot of talking which I think we did well,” Emhiser said.
The Emhiser-Oakland-Shapiro trio finished just behind Navy skipper Charlotte Hill ’08, sister of Yale’s Hill who raced in the B division, spicing up the regatta with some sister-sister rivalry.
Oakland normally crews for captain Molly Carapiet ’06, but Emhiser and Oakland both said they had fun sailing together.
“Kendra and I had such a good time sailing.” Oakland said. “We were laughing so hard we could barely sail. It was really windy, which worked out really well for us.”
The Elis were able to do fairly well in the breeze because they train with the co-ed team, but the other teams struggled. On Sunday, strong winds forced officials to call off the regatta after only one set of races were completed.
Despite the victory, Hill said her performance on Saturday was not ideal because they struggled to read the shifts in wind. Oakland, on the other hand, said her boat did not have too much trouble on the first day of racing.
“We were starting really well and it was key to start well [Saturday],” Oakland said. “We had a lot of freedom if we started well, which was helpful.”
After securing the win this weekend, the women’s sailing team is looking forward to the Stu Nelson Trophy at Connecticut College, another intersectional. Oakland will return to sailing with Carapiet. Although the Bulldogs have won overall the past two weekends, Emhiser said they are not entirely satisfied.
“[The] last two weekends we have won overall but we haven’t won the A and B division, so there are still things to work on,” Emhiser said.