This past weekend, Eli sailors Thomas Barrows ’10, Claire Dennis ’13, Sarah Lihan ’10 and Emily Billing ’13 traveled south to Corpus Christi, Texas, and took the ICSA Singlehanded Championships by storm.
The three-day regatta hosted sailors from all seven intercollegiate sailing districts in the United States, including nine sailors from NEISA, Yale’s district. In the men’s division, all four NEISA sailors placed in the top eight of 18 total sailors, with Barrows finishing third. In the women’s division, all of NEISA five competitors, including the three Bulldogs, placed in the top-seven of 18 total.
The Elis arrived prepared for the conditions because Yale’s open-water training site matches the conditions of the open bay where competition was held, Dennis said. Weather on Friday and Saturday was fair with light-moderate breezes picking up by the end of the day. Sunday it rained, but the wind held at the same light level.
In the Women’s National Singlehanded Championships, Dennis took second place with 73 points, falling only to Anne Haeger of Boston College, who had 67 points. Lihan and Billing placed fourth and seventh with 92 and 135 points, respectively. All three had previously sailed races in Laser Radials — the boats used at the women’s ICSA championships — with the U.S. Development Team.
“I was really happy with how the regatta went,” Dennis said. “There weren’t any great mistakes, and I was just consistent.”
Dennis won four of her 18 races and placed in the top-five 12 times, with most of her best races in the second half of competition. Lihan placed in the top-five 10 times. Neither placed outside the top-10 racers at any time during the weekend. Billing placed in the top-five five times and ended with 135 points.
“I think [the team’s success] is really, especially great because we have a super young team, and we all have a strong background in this type of sailing outside of college sailing,” Lihan said. “I’m really excited for [Dennis and Billing] and the future of our team to continue the tradition we have in sailing, and specifically in women’s sailing.”
In the Men’s National Singlehanded Championship Barrows placed third. The event, raced in standard Lasers, was the premier event for men’s singlehanded sailors this season.
Barrows ended with a weekend score of 102 points, barely edging fourth-place finisher Chris Barnard of Georgetown University by one point. Juan Maegli of College of Charleston and Frederick Strammer of Brown University took first and second place with 66 and 79 points, respectively.
“I was able to do really well,” Barrows said. “I had bad races here and there that held me back that I made big mistakes in, and it was a little frustrating to not finish consistently in the top five.”
Next weekend, the women’s and coed sailing teams will travel to Boston for their respective Atlantic Coast Championships. The ACCs — the last major fall event — will be host by Harvard, with teams from the entire eastern seaboard.
“If we win that, we win the East Coast,” Blair Belling ’11 said of the ACCs. “Since its in Boston, knowing that the Shell [Erwin Shell Trophy on Nov. 1] went well for us is a great confidence booster — though you never want to get overconfident with the Charles.”
Sailing begins Saturday at 9 a.m.