SAN FRANCISCO – The members of the No. 1 Yale women’s sailing team came here on a mission: to prove why they were ranked first in the nation during the 2008-’09 season. And they did just that.
After two days of racing against the best competition from around the country, the Bulldogs fought back from 15 points down headed into the last two races to win the ICSA Women’s National Championship on Wednesday. The title is the second in Yale history and the first for the team since 2004.
The title was sealed for the Elis in the last two races as Jane Macky ’09 and Marla Menninger ’10, who won A division for the second consecutive year, finished first in both races while No. 9 Old Dominion, the leader going into the races, faltered and finished last and second to last. In addition, the Yale B division sailed well throughout the regatta, skippered by Kate Hagemann ’09 and Sarah Lihan ’10 and crewed by Grace Becton ’09, Rebecca Jackson ’10 and Elizabeth Brim ’11.
Hosted by No. 12 Stanford and the St. Francis Yacht Club on the San Francisco City Front, the Women’s National Championships featured some of the toughest conditions of the season for the Bulldogs, with strong winds gusting above 30 miles per hour, powerful current and cold air and water temperatures, all typical characteristics of this historic San Francisco venue.
“It was down to the last race,” head coach Zach Leonard ’89 said. “Conditions were very windy and challenging and we didn’t have a heavy air crew for A division so Jane and Marla sailed every race. They worked so hard. To come through right at the end when they were exhausted and to see them handle the pressure and win is just great.”
Following the presentation of the championship to the Bulldogs, Macky was recognized as the Quantum Women’s College Sailor of the Year and an All-American skipper. Hagemann was also named to the All-American skipper team.