Sailing succeeds in blustery conditions

The winds of fortune in their sails, the sailing team picked up strong finishes in three different meets along the East Coast over the weekend.

Yale sailed away with high finishes in the Victorian Coffee Urn Regatta in Boston on the women’s side and the 67th Professor Schell Trophy Regatta on the coed side. They were also in action in New York City at the Maritime War Memorial Regatta, where they finished tenth.

Sailors compete at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Sept. 2006. On Sunday, the women won the Victorian Coffee Urn Regatta.
Christopher Young
Sailors compete at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club in Sept. 2006. On Sunday, the women won the Victorian Coffee Urn Regatta.

Amid the blustery Boston conditions, the coed sailing team finished second in the Schell Regatta, falling victim to a strong performance by host MIT. A light rain marred the first day of competition, but the Bulldogs managed to navigate their way through the wet weather and come through with relatively strong finishes on the first day.

The A Division pair of captain Zach Brown ’08 and Grace Becton ’09 finished third overall in the division. The Harvard sailing duo pulled away from field, and MIT came in second, only slightly ahead of the Bulldogs. The small margin by which MIT beat the Elis came back to haunt Yale, as it turned out to be the exact margin by which the Bulldogs lost the meet.

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs turned in a strong overall performance, but they fell a little short of a sailing paradigm — finish consistently.

“We don’t try to go out and win every race, but instead attempt to get good, average finishes in every race.” Caleb Dorfman ’09 said.

The B Division boat, operated by Thomas Barrows ’10 and Abigail Coplin ’08, was a little more consistent. In the final divisional standings, the boat tied with MIT in points but was relegated to second after losing a tie breaker.

The combination of strong performances in the A and B Divisions led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish, as they narrowly lost out to the Beavers. Even with a strong second-place finish, Barrows said there was room for improvement.

“I felt like we underperformed a little,” he said. “We were doing really well at times, but we had a few setbacks and mistakes that ended up costing us in the end.”

The women fared even better, winning the Victorian Coffee Urn Regatta at Harvard. The Elis left with a dominating victory, as they finished 48 points clear of their nearest rival, the Crimson.

In the tightly bunched A division, the pair of Jane Macky ’09 and Marla Menninger ’10 narrowly came in third behind Charleston and Dartmouth. They finished first in four of the six races on the first day. Things went slightly awry on the second day, when the Elis were shut out of the top three for the day, but they usually still finished well.

Kate Hagemann ’09 and Liz Brim ’11 dominated the B division with top-three finishes in eight of the 12 races over the course of the regatta. Their consistent success paved the way to a crushing victory in the B Division, as they finished well clear of URI and Brown, their closest competitors. The combination of these two performances powered the Bulldogs to a first-place overall finish.

“Our team in general did a really good job,” Macky said. “It was a good result, and I think we have a really strong team, and I think that showed over the weekend. A lot of teams don’t have the depth that we do.”

Another group of the coed Eli team competed at the Maritime War Memorial Regatta in New York, but they did not fare as well as their teammates at the other two regattas. The Bulldogs finished in the middle of the pack with a 10th-place finish, and small mistakes ended up costing them as they navigated the waters in unfriendly weather in New York City.

St. Mary’s walked away as the clear winners while the Elis suffered inconsistent, and sometimes poor, finishes that cost them. But the team seemed upbeat in spite of the results.

“It went pretty well — there were no large mistakes, and if we improve on a few small things we could have done really well,” Dorfman said. “Overall, we performed the way we expected to, and we see a lot of positive things coming out. I’m happy, and the coach is happy. We’ve made a lot of progress lately.”

The Yale sailing team will next be in action Nov. 2 at the ICSA Men’s Singlehanded Championships.

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