Sailors take home big wins in windy weekend

Despite terrible weather, the Bulldogs made it out to five regattas all over the Northeast, competing in some of the biggest fleet races of the spring season.

The weekend’s highlight was the coed sailing team’s win at the Admirals Cup at Merchant Marine in New York, and the women’s team placed fourth at the Brad Dellenbaugh Trophy hosted by Brown. The coed team also had racers at the Moody Trophy at Rhode Island, the BU Trophy, and the Southern Series IV at Salve Regina.

The Admirals Cup featured the top teams from all over the nation. Because they won in a competitive field of 20 of the top teams that they will be facing at national championships, captain Zach Brown ’08 said he is confident in the team’s performance.

“This was definitely our toughest fleet race of the spring season so far,” Brown said. “It makes our win a significant one — we definitely have a good shot at winning the national championships.”

In addition to tough competition, the Bulldogs also faced difficult sailing conditions. On Saturday, the team sailed in oscillating shifts with a medium to light breeze, and on the second day, the team was only able to sail in a few races because of the extremely rainy weather.

The stormy conditions made for inconsistent sailing, so the Bulldogs could not accurately gauge their standings, though they ultimately finished with a larger margin of victory than they expected. The team’s strong finishes within the individual divisions indicates the Elis’ depth as a team. The Bulldogs placed first in Division C, second in Division B, and seventh in Division A.

“The regatta was pretty much defined by inconsistency,” Brown said. “Everyone had scores that were up and down, and it was a constant battle. It was important to keep calm and stay patient throughout the whole weekend.”

The women’s team faced similarly tough conditions and struggles with consistency at the Dellenbaugh Trophy, where it finished fourth last weekend. Although the Elis finished as the top Northeast team, they weren’t completely satisfied by their performance, said Kendra Emhiser ’07, who skippered the Division B boat with Marla Menninger ’10 and captain Jane Macky ’09.

“We struggled with consistency this weekend, and that’s what wins a regatta,” she said. “In both divisions, we had races where we came in last, which really affected our scores. Had we made fewer mistakes in some races, we definitely would have done better.”

The women also struggled with their starts, which led to inconsistent finishes ranging from first to last place. The Elis went for the winning starts, but ended up taking risks that led to costly mistakes.

“This was our last major intersectional before our qualifiers for nationals next week, so it doesn’t give us a huge amount of confidence going in,” Emhiser said. “We’re not overly harsh on ourselves, but we realized that we have a lot to work out.”

At the Moody Trophy in Rhode Island, the coed team had a disappointing 11th place finish. The team struggled with Saturday’s shifty winds, which ranged from light to extremely forceful breezes, but were able to improve their finishes towards the end of the day. Despite putting themselves in a position to improve, Sunday’s storm systems prevented further sailing, stopping the Bulldogs from improving their rankings.

“It took us a while to figure out what was going on in terms of sailing in those conditions, and by the time we got it together, it was a bit too late for the first day and we never got the second to recover,” he said.

At the Boston University Trophy the Elis faced rain and sleet in addition to shifty winds. This led to struggles with inconsistencies, particularly at the starting line.

“We struggled with starting — the other teams were a lot more aggressive about accelerating,” Kate Hagemann ’09 said. “We couldn’t get to the first shift, which set us behind and made it much harder to battle back.”

At the final coed regatta, the Bulldogs won the Southern Series regatta hosted by Salve Regina.

Next weekend, the women will compete for the Reed Trophy at the Northeast Championships hosted by Connecticut College, where they hope to qualify for the national championships. The coed team will have sailors at the Thompson Trophy, hosted by the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., the George Morris Trophy Intersectional at BU, the Southern Series V at Rhode Island, and the NE Frosh Single Division Championships at home.

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