SAILING | Windless weekend doesn’t stop sailors

The coed sailing team finished third out of 21 teams at the Professor Steadman Hood Trophy in Massachusetts.
The coed sailing team finished third out of 21 teams at the Professor Steadman Hood Trophy in Massachusetts. Photo by Zeenat Mansoor.

Glassy water can be beautiful, but there is nothing uglier to a sailor.

For the second straight week, a lack of wind in the Northeast limited the activity of the No. 1 coed and women’s sailing teams. The women’s team completed a weekend-high 14 races at its regatta, seven in each division, while none of the four coed teams sailed in more than eight.

Several members of the team expressed frustration at the small number of races that were sailed this weekend. When regattas consist of few races, it is hard for a superior team to differentiate itself from the pack, they said. Still, some Yale sailors took it in stride.

A lack of wind frequently caused delays at multiple sailing regattas over the weekend.
A lack of wind frequently caused delays at multiple sailing regattas over the weekend.

“Light-air racing kind of comes with the college sailing job description,” Chris Segerblom ’14 said.

The women’s team managed a fourth-place finish out of 16 at the Women’s Regis Bowl, hosted by Boston University. The coed sailing team, meanwhile, sent four squads to New Hampshire, R.I., and the Boston area, each with varying levels of success.

The Charles River proved kinder to the women’s sailing team this weekend than it had to the coeds a week ago. The women’s team battled the shifty conditions to earn 72 points in their 14 races, securing fourth place out of 16. The total was just 10 points short of second place. Emily Billing ’13, A-division skipper, said she was satisfied with the result but not fully content.

“I think we did well, but I think we could have done even better,” she said. “The wind was really light; there was barely enough breeze to sail.”

The coeds were most successful at the Professor Steadman Hood Trophy hosted by Tufts. Despite a total of just four races per division, the Bulldogs made sure to capitalize when the wind cooperated, finishing third out of 21. In the B division, skipper Chris Segerblom ’14 and crew Heather May ’13 finished second with 20 points, including two second-place finishes. Segerblom said that he was pleased with the team’s result, while emphasizing the impact of the conditions at this regatta.

“Conditions were so shifty and light that there was a lot of opportunity to make gains and catch up,” he said.

At the New England Sloop Championships in Boston Harbor, amid on and off wind, the Bulldogs narrowly failed to qualify for match-racing nationals. Led by captain and skipper Joe Morris ’12, a crew of four coeds lost out to Roger Williams in the quarterfinals of the Championships. However, as this was one of the first years the coeds have attempted to qualify for the match-racing nationals, the disappointment at falling short was not overwhelming.

“This was our first year giving a good go at it,” Morris said of the Sloop Championships. “We knew there would be a good chance we wouldn’t qualify, but this is experience under everyone’s belt.”

At the Salt Pond Invitational in Rhode Island, mother nature was again a factor, as a lack of wind forced the University of Rhode Island to cancel Sunday’s races. At the end of the regatta, the Bulldogs sat sixth out of eight.

Nowhere was there less wind than in New Hampshire at the Chris Loder Trophy, where the Bulldogs were unable to sail all weekend. The regatta was cancelled, but all was not lost, as the coeds who made the long drive to New Hampshire were treated to a grilled cheeseburger lunch on Saturday and to Wildcat muffins on Sunday.

Although being able to adapt to the wind is essential in sailing, the unpredictability of the wind at the beginning of this season has nevertheless provided a challenge to both of the sailing teams. Morris emphasized that the best teams find a way to win, knowing that conditions are out of their control.

“Every other team in New England is going through the same thing,” he said.

Next weekend, the women’s sailing team will host the New England Women’s Singlehanded Championship here at Yale. The coed team will send sailors to regattas hosted by Coast Guard, Connecticut College, Tufts and MIT.

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