SAILING | Women’s team qualifies for Nationals

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Photo by Zeenat Mansoor.

The No. 4 Yale women’s team finished second at the New England Championship this weekend and qualified for the Nationals Championships to be held from May 31 to June 2 in Austin, Texas.

The Elis finished their season on a high note at the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s Championship. The first two teams of the 17 teams competing automatically qualify for championships. The Bulldogs attained a score of 157, behind host Boston College’s 97. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. Yale’s No. 1 coed team heads to the National Semifinal Championships at the Naval Academy on May 12 to 13

“We did pretty well overall and a great job at the Thompson,” sailing head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 said. “Our teams have made a lot of improvements in a lot of ways since the start of the season.”

The New England Championship, called the Reed Trophy, consisted of 17 fleet races in the A and B divisions. In each fleet race, one Yale boat competed against one boat from each of the other 16 teams at the regatta.

With eight sailors participating, the team rotated sailors on the boats in both divisions during the race. Women’s captain Emily Billing ’13 said this allowed the team to utilize the particular strengths of each sailor for the variety of conditions they faced. The sailors encountered shifty five knot winds early on Saturday, 20-knot puffs later on and 8 to 12-knot winds on Sunday.

Skipper Marlena Fauer ’14, who sailed in the A division, said, their success was driven by the team effort afforded by this rotation, allowing the sailors to minimize their physical and mental fatigue during the regatta and to motivate one another. Yale earned a comfortable 44-point lead on Brown University.

Billing, who sailed for part of the B division races, attributed Boston College’s 60-point margin for first place to the team’s home water advantage.

A second place finish automatically qualifies the Bulldogs alongside eight other teams for the national championships, while the sailing teams that placed third through seventh last weekend will have to race at a semifinal regatta on May 30. The top nine teams from this regatta will also qualify for the championships.

The coed team won the two-division Thompson Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Although the Elis came fourth in the A division, they were able to hold a 20-point lead in the B division to earn first place overall by 18 points. At the Admiral’s Cup at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the Bulldogs fell to eleventh, but Leonard said many of the sailors learned a great deal from their mistakes at the event.

“Sometimes even when the result doesn’t look great on paper, it really helps them in the long run,” Leonard said.

The women’s team will practice more intensively in New Haven as they head into the postseason, working out three times a week and practicing daily on the water at the McNay Family Sailing Center for over two weeks before flying to nationals in Texas. Next weekend, the coed team will sail at the New England Team Race Championships hosted by MIT and the George Morris Trophy at Boston University, both along the Charles River.

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