SAILING | Elis overcome rough weather

The No. 1-ranked coed sailing team pulled off its third consecutive victory with a win at the Southern Connecticut Team Race.
The No. 1-ranked coed sailing team pulled off its third consecutive victory with a win at the Southern Connecticut Team Race. Photo by Zeenat Mansoor.

Although shifty winds threatened to derail both the coed and women’s sailing teams over the weekend, both Yale teams rallied on the final day of racing to come from behind and win their regattas.

At the end of races on Saturday and Sunday, the coed team won the Southern Connecticut Team Race at Connecticut College, while the women sailed to victory at the Dellenbaugh Trophy, hosted by Brown.

At New London, Conn., the No. 1-ranked coed team finished the preliminary round robin with an 8–3 record and went 4–1 in the final top-six round robin Sunday for a cumulative record of 12–4, clinching the victory over the field of 18. The win was the Elis’ third consecutive victory and solidified their hold on the top spot in the poll. The Bulldogs were represented by skippers Cameron Cullman ’13, captain Chris Segerblom ’14 and Graham Landy ’15, and crews Heather May ’13, Eugenia Custo Greig ’15 and Charlotte Belling ’16 at New London. The coed team also sent sailors to the Mystic Lake Team Race at Tufts, placing sixth overall with a 7–14 overall record.

The No. 2 women’s team sat in fifth place overall after racing concluded Saturday in Providence. But the Bulldogs turned in a commanding performance on Sunday, winning the last three races of both the A and B divisions to catapult from fifth to first by the end of the competition. The Elis’ A division boat was skippered by Claire Dennis ’13 and crewed by Katherine Gaumond ’15, while Morgan Kiss ’15 skippered the B division boat crewed by Urska Kosir ’15 for the first eight races and Custo Greig for the remaining two.

“As a team we were very happy with our overall result, especially after struggling to find consistency on Saturday,” Dennis said. “Ending the regatta with six race wins gave us a lot of confidence going forward.”

Only six races were completed in each division Saturday at Brown due to shifty northwesterly winds, and the capricious weather affected most teams’ results — only one school placed in the top-10 in every single race.

Kosir said starting the races well was crucial to scoring well for the Bulldogs.

“The important thing was to get a good start and then keep a clear position among the top of the fleet,” she said. “Once you were there you could protect enough to get a good average score.”

Similar weather conditions threatened racing for the coed team at Connecticut College, as unstable northwesterly winds caused difficulty for the Bulldogs, particularly on Saturday morning. As the wind shifted to the southwest and built to a more steady 13 knots, Yale’s performance improved and the team finished racing Saturday with a 5–3 round robin record.

“The conditions this weekend varied tremendously,” Belling said. “It was just important to not get bogged down by the results and instead come into Sunday ready to sail cleanly and win races.”

On Sunday Yale turned in a phenomenal performance to win the regatta. After winning out the remaining round robin races to finish with an 8–3 record, the Bulldogs lost only once in the final round of the top-six teams, going 4–1 to finish first with a 12–4 overall record.

Landy added that the difficult conditions served as a learning opportunity for the team.

“Adaptability to conditions is a huge aspect of college sailing,” he said. “We struggled a little in the unstable and shifty winds on Saturday, but that helped us find some areas to improve going forward.”

Next weekend both teams continue racing, with the coed team competing at the Marchiando-Friis Trophy, co-hosted by MIT and Tufts, and the women’s team traveling North to Boston University to sail in the President’s Trophy.

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