Split sailing team stumbles

In the midst of its spring season, the Yale sailing team employed its usual strategy of “divide and hope to conquer.”

This past weekend, the women’s team placed third at Tufts’ Joseph Duplin Trophy, as members of the coed team competed at four different regattas around New England. The most important regatta of the weekend, the Southern New England Team Race, resulted in a disappointing fifth-place finish.

Yale boats maneuver in the waters off the coast of Branford during a home meet on Sept. 10, 2006. In the most important regatta of the weekend, the Southern New England Team Race, the Elis finished fifth.
Chris Young
Yale boats maneuver in the waters off the coast of Branford during a home meet on Sept. 10, 2006. In the most important regatta of the weekend, the Southern New England Team Race, the Elis finished fifth.

The Southern New England Team Race started at Connecticut College on Saturday, where Yale finished in the top four with a strong record of 13-1, allowing the team to move on to the second day of competition at the Coast Guard Academy. But the Elis’ 3-4 record on Sunday put them at a lackluster fifth place.

“We didn’t do nearly as well as we wanted to — we hadn’t lost a team race up to that point,” captain Zach Brown ’08 said. “We did poorly with our starts, which was our primary weakness.”

At Coast Guard, the Bulldogs had to race with large starting lines, which put them at a disadvantage because they normally practice with short starting lines. Brown said the much longer starting lines gave less competitive teams the opportunity to get ahead, which meant the Bulldogs were not able to pass them as early in the race as they would have liked.

Also factoring into the mix were the protests filed during Sunday’s races. The Bulldogs struggled to explain their side of the story to the judges, and ultimately, two lost protests cost the team a much higher ranking.

“The judges didn’t understand and weren’t knowledgeable with the rules,” Brown said. “It was completely random that we lost the protests.”

Back at Yale, members of the coed team also competed in team racing at the Ferrarone Team Race Intersectional, where they placed fourth. After Saturday’s 4-2 performance, the team qualified for the Gold Fleet on Sunday, in which the top four teams did two round robins of competition against one another.

“The wind was very consistent all weekend, except for Saturday morning,” said Hannah Oakland ’07, who sailed with Emily Hill ’07. “When it’s shifty, wavy or puffy, it adds another element which increases difficulty, so the steady wind made for nice consistency.”

The women’s regatta at Tufts proved to be one with many irregularities. The committee did not change the course despite an extremely inconsistent breeze coming from all directions.

“Given the conditions, the regatta was quite weird,” captain Jane Macky ’09 said. “It didn’t really feel like normal, serious racing at all.”

Macky said the combined division competition compensated for the less-than-ideal sailing conditions. At most regattas, the A and B divisions compete at different times, but because there were only nine teams, boats from both divisions competed at the same time.

Another group of Yale sailors competed in the Boston area at the Oberg Trophy, hosted by Northeastern. The Bulldogs finished in sixth place. Further down the coast, Yale’s team at the Southern Series III hosted by Salve Regina won the event easily with 83 points and a 10-point margin ahead of second-place Coast Guard.

Next weekend, the coed team will compete at the Admiral Alymers Trophy and the Marchiando Trophy Team Race Intersectional at Massachusetts Maritime and MIT, respectively. The women will race at Boston University’s President’s Trophy Intersectional.

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