Sailors place sixth to start ’06

The weather in last weekend’s Harry Anderson Trophy seemed to be just as inconsistent as the sailing team itself.

Racing against incredibly blustery conditions on Saturday and nearly no wind on Sunday, the Bulldogs earned a sixth-place finish in the regatta with 147 points. No. 1 Boston College proved that it deserves its top seed designation by taking home the victory with 90 points. Co-ed team captain Zach Brown ’08, Kendra Emhiser ’07 and Grace Becton ’09 sailed in racing Division A, while Phil Stemler ’07, Emhiser and Abby Coplin ’08 made up the Division B squad.

The regatta, which took place at Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Branford, marked the beginning of the Elis’ sailing season and pitted the Bulldogs against 22 other teams, including 13 of the nation’s top-20-ranked schools.

Due to the strong winds and rain from Tropical Storm Ernesto, teams were only able to complete four races on Saturday. As teams lined up for the start of a race, women’s sailing team captain Emily Hill ’07 said a huge puff of wind arose, flipping many of the boats, although no Yale sailors were affected.

“There was so much breeze that boats were out of control and the race was called off because there was a concern about damage,” said Hill, who did not compete but watched the races.

Despite the tough conditions on Saturday, Yale head coach Zachary Leonard said the weather did not affect the Elis’ performance because the wind was not overly strong during the actual competition. Rather, Leonard said, a lack of consistency among the sailors characterized the regatta.

“We’ve won a lot of events, and then we’ve had a lot of rough events,” he said. “We’re trying to smooth that out.”

Emhiser said maintaining relatively good scores across the two days is crucial for the team’s future success.

“We got thirds overall, and then we would get some 20ths,” she said. “Because a regatta has lots of races and lasts two days, it’s especially important to remain consistent through the different conditions and numerous races.”

Hill said the inconsistency stemmed from the rustiness inherent in beginning the season.

“I know we all need work getting used to sailing with our new crews and getting back into the college sailing mindset,” she said.

Both Hill and Leonard said they are optimistic about the season if the team races to its potential.

“We have a group of people who really love sailing, and in past years they’ve really enjoyed the work associated with being good,” Leonard said. “If we keep doing that we can have a successful season.”

The team will be bolstered by a large group of incoming freshmen, whom Leonard said he foresees playing important roles on the team.

The rookies will be put to the test in this upcoming weekend’s Freshman Series I at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club. The other members of the team will be scattered across New England, participating in various events including the Captain Hurst Bowl at Dartmouth College and the Great Herring Open at Mass Maritime.

Emhiser, who will be racing in Boston, said the regattas will be a good measure of the season to come.

“It will be good to see what the team will be like this year,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll start off with success.”

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