After disappointing finishes last week, the Bulldog sailors bounced back with stronger performances this week.
As is typical during the spring sailing season, the team split up, with members sailing at three different regattas across Massachusetts this weekend. Up on the Charles, the coed sailors won the Marchiando Trophy Team Race Intersectional at MIT, and the women’s team placed second in the President’s Trophy Intersectional hosted by Boston University. The coed team also sent racers to the Admiral Alymers Trophy at Mass Maritime, where the Elis had a tough day sailing on Buzzard’s Bay.
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“We started off strong on both days,” said captain Zach Brown ’08, who sailed with Grace Becton ’09. “We came out and won all the races in the beginning, and we carried the momentum through each time, so that was definitely a big thing.”
Because of the inconsistent wind and variable sailing conditions, the team had to strive for consistency to ensure good starts and good covering. Despite the near-freezing temperatures causing frost and ice on the lines, Brown said the crews did a good job.
The Bulldogs also had to adapt to different conditions and equipment between the first day of racing at Tufts and the second day at MIT. After facing shifty winds and a light to medium breeze on the first day, the team had to switch gears in MIT’s steady and fairly strong breeze. They also sailed in different types of boats, taking to the water in Larks at the Tufts race and in FJ’s at the MIT event.
“Shifting back and forth, we had to clamp down on our competitors and use a lot more mental energy to focus,” Brown said. “It was so shifty that you’d be in front of someone and if they got a random shift, they would pass in front of you.”
The women finished strong in second place at this weekend’s top women’s event, the President’s Trophy Intersectional, hosted by BU. The Bulldogs overcame their season-long weakness of sailing in light winds and were able to perform consistently throughout the regatta, even among a large field of 18 competitors.
“We were all excited that we got to sail in really light conditions on Saturday and breezy conditions on Sunday and to be doing well and consistently over the board,” captain Jane Macky ’09 said.
Macky and Hannah Aultman ’08 sailed in Division A, and Kate Hagemann ’09 skippered with crew Lynn McGregor ’08 in Division B. Both boats finished third in their divisions.
The Bulldogs also faced similarly inconsistent winds at the Admiral Alymers Trophy at Mass Maritime, which made for challenging sailing conditions and disappointing finishes, including sixth in Division A and 17th in Division B.
“It was frustrating at times because we don’t have much experience in the difficult conditions,” Rufus Peabody ’08 said. “We had our share of good and bad races, but towards the end of the regatta, we got more consistent and were able to salvage races when things didn’t start well.”
With the team race at MIT behind them, the coed team has only one more team race before the North American Team Racing Championships at the end of May. Their performance this weekend has made the team more confident going into the final stretch of the season.
“With the exception of one team, the teams that we beat are going to be at Nationals, so we have a good outlook for that,” Brown said. “We wanted to sail all out and check how our competitors were doing, and we beat everyone by a good bit.”
Once again, the Bulldogs will be sailing all over the Northeast in five regattas this weekend. The coed team will compete at the Admirals Cup at the Merchant Marine Academy on Long Island, the BU Trophy on the Charles River, and the Moody Trophy and the Southern Series IV in Rhode Island. The women will also head to the Ocean State to sail at the Dellenbaugh Trophy, hosted by Brown.