Sailors qualify for nationals

For the fifth time in as many years, the women’s sailing team will compete for a national championship.

The No. 2 Bulldogs won their first New England doublehanded title since 2002 this weekend at the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Championship/Reed Trophy at Boston College. With the win, the Elis qualified for the North American championship for the fifth consecutive year. Yale won the North American title for the first time in spring 2004.

Six Yale woman sailors were among 19 named to the All-NEISA Women’s Team, including skippers Molly Carapiet ’06, Emily Hill ’07 and Kendra Emhiser ’07, as well as crews Meghan Pearl ’06, Hannah Oakland ’07 and Eliza Becton ’06. Carapiet, an All-American, won the North American singlehanded championship in November.

Carapiet said she was happy with the win and pleased to be going back to nationals.

“I’m very excited that we made it through this weekend and that we will be going to nationals again,” Carapiet said. “We will be preparing for that event as much as we can now and hope to do well in Charleston [at the North American championships].”

Emhiser, who crewed for Hill in the B division at the Reed, said winning the New England title was a great boost for the Elis, whose main goal was simply to finish in the top five and qualify for nationals.

“It’s really good,” she said. “It shows the success we’ve had all season. Winning it clearly wasn’t our priority because we just needed to qualify, but in the end winning it was an added bonus.”

Carapiet and Oakland finished third in A division and Hill won the B division with Emhiser and Pearl splitting the crew duties. Emhiser said she felt privileged to be able to sail at the championship, even though she normally skippers.

“It was really fun sailing with Emily,” she said. “It was nice that I could at least sail even though [Carapiet] was also there.”

The women’s team has often had trouble with tough weather this season, but Emhiser said the conditions at the Reed were finally working in the Elis’ favor.

“It was pretty windy, which is definitely favorable conditions for us. We maintained our focus really well and we were able to be consistent enough to not only qualify but actually win.”

Yale women also saw success at the NEISA Freshman Championships/Priddy Trophy at Tufts, where Kate Hagemann ’09 and crew Grace Becton ’09 battled through rain and a crowd of male skippers to finish fifth of 15 teams.

The No. 6 coed team, meanwhile, did not fare so well. The Bulldogs finished ninth of 18 teams at the Thompson Trophy at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, finishing 100 points behind Harvard, which won the regatta. Zach Brown ’08 and Sarah Himmelfarb ’06 finished ninth in the A division while coed captain Matt Barry ’07 and crews Adriane Levin ’09 and Caleb Dorfman ’09 came in 10th in the B division. A tough first day doomed the Elis, who had only eight finishes in the top half in the regatta’s first 20 races.

The Bulldogs also sailed at Boston University, but results for the George E. Morris Trophy were not available at press time. Skippers Jane Macky ’09 and Rufus Peabody ’08 and crews Hilary Shapiro ’08 and Kate Williams ’09 sailed at the Morris.

Peabody said Shapiro and Macky, who was sick all weekend, showed their mettle. Macky said she had a tough time of it.

“By the time I got there I was just feeling terrible, and we didn’t have a good time,” she said. “It’s hard to keep concentrating and the conditions were really tricky.”

But despite the trouble at the Morris, Carapiet said the weekend was a high point of the season for the women’s team.

“This weekend really showed the depth specifically of our women’s team,” she said. “We were six of the All-New England sailors, including three skippers and three crews, and for Kate and Grace to do well at the Freshman New Englands and for Jane and Hilary to do well at Boston University really shows that Yale women’s sailing is going to do well for at least four more years.”

The team’s next big tests are the New England team racing championships at Yale next weekend and the coed championships the following weekend at Brown.

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