Unforgiving weather proved to be a formidable obstacle to the Elis during this weekend’s three regattas. But despite difficult conditions, the No. 2 women’s team placed first at the Brad Dellenbaugh Trophy hosted by Brown University , and the No. 3 co-ed sailors claimed third place at the Southern New England Team Race hosted by Coast Guard and Connecticut College. The co-ed Elis also hosted the Ted Ferrarone Team Race Intersectional, placing tenth in the competition.
The women’s team battled chilly weather and overcast skies, which characterized the conditions at the Edgewood Yacht Club in Cranston, R.I., where the regatta was held. By Sunday morning, Saturday’s light drizzle had dispersed, although the choppy winds remained.
“It also was really windy all weekend, from 10 to 20 knots, and it wasn’t straight wind either,” captain Marla Menninger ’10 said. “But we did a good job staying focused.”
Racing in 420s, Yale started the regatta Saturday with three first-place finishes and a second-place finish. The Elis completed the event by placing second in the A Division and first in the B Division. Overall, Yale’s combined score of 119 clinched the first place over Brown’s second-place 127.
Menninger noted the performance of Sarah Lihan ’10, who skippered for the B Division boat, as particularly impressive in the face of the tough weather.
“I think the preparation that I’ve been doing over the past couple of years has really come together,” Lihan said. “I was really proud of myself and the team. The win was really a testament to the determination of the team.”
Lihan further added that the competition was great training for the upcoming national championships. Although the team has yet to qualify for Nationals, which are taking place in gusty San Francisco this year, the weekend’s results are a good indication that qualifying will be a breeze.
Facing similar conditions, teammates at the Southern New England Team Race resorted to heavy air skipper-crew combinations to keep the FJs upright in the strong winds. The unsteady conditions, which included gusts of 25 knots followed by large lulls, made race strategies tricky.
“It was pretty dififcult weekend — conditions were pretty hard,” captain Thomas Barrows ’10 said. “We would have liked to win, but it’s still early in the season.”
The Bulldogs came in third out of the 18 teams participating this year. Yale started out strong Saturday, winning seven of its eight races and qualifying first in the top 10 who went on to compete for the championship Sunday. But on Sunday, the Elis won only six of their nine races, falling to Boston College (8-1) and St. Mary’s (6-3) in a tie-breaker.
Emmet Smith ’09 attributed Sunday’s disappointing performance to the day’s increased winds, which forced the team to put together skipper-crew combinations who were less familiar with one another.
“We had a couple of freshmen skippering, and they haven’t had much time to get to know the others on the team,” Smith said. “But it could have been worse. A lot of teams were flipping over, and that wasn’t much of a problem for us.”
The Bulldogs also sailed in the Ferrarone Team Race, which was hosted at Yale, placing last out of 10 teams from around the country. The weather was notably puffy, with 35-knot squalls recorded.
“We were stretched really thin this weekend, and we had to use a lot of unusual combinations,” Smith said. “It was a learning experience overall.”
The women’s team will next compete at this coming weekend’s President’s Trophy on the Charles River. The co-ed team will be sailing at the Marchiando and Friis Team Race, the Admiral Alymers Trophy and the Southern Series Four.