SAILING | Despite elements, Elis cruise to victory

The No. 1 coed sailing team finished first overall at the Friis and Marchiando Tro- phies on Sunday.
The No. 1 coed sailing team finished first overall at the Friis and Marchiando Tro- phies on Sunday. Photo by Zeenat Mansoor.

For the second consecutive weekend, unpredictable wind created complicated racing conditions for both the coed and women’s sailing teams, and for the second consecutive weekend, both teams sailed to victory despite the inclement weather.

At Boston, the No. 1 nationally ranked coed team finished first overall at the Marchiando and Friis Trophies, co-hosted by MIT and Tufts on Mystic Lake. A few miles south on the Charles River, the No. 1 women’s team also sailed to a comfortable victory over the other 16 schools competing for the President’s Trophy, hosted by Boston University.

When the coed team arrived on Saturday, high winds and low temperatures led to a temporary postponement in racing until conditions became sailable. Even when the regatta resumed later in the day, winds continued to shift between 10 and 25 knots from the northwest. Racing in a double round-robin format against six other schools, the Bulldogs lost only one race to Brown as they finished the day with an 11-1 overall record, good enough to advance to the gold round on Sunday at MIT.

In a similar double round-robin format, Sunday’s racing pinned the Elis against the gold round qualifying teams that had not sailed at Tufts on Saturday: Boston College, Stanford, Harvard and the University of Vermont. Once again, the Bulldogs only lost one round-robin race, to Stanford. In the final four round-robin, Yale needed only one race win to clinch victory at the regatta, and they did so immediately, beating Stanford in the first race of the final four.

Head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 attributed the unstable conditions the previous weekend at Connecticut College to the team’s exceptional performance at Tufts.

“Although we always have more to improve on in practice, we are getting stronger in those conditions with time,” he said.

The coed skippers Cameron Cullman ’13, captain Chris Segerblom ’14 and Graham Landy ’15 paired with various crews throughout the weekend for optimal weight combinations in the unsteady breeze. Crews Heather May ’13, Marlena Fauer ’14, Will Feldman ’14, Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 and Katherine Gaumond ’15 all contributed to the team success.

The Bulldogs also sent boats to the Greater New York Dinghy Regatta hosted by Columbia, finishing eighth overall.

Farther south on the Charles River, the women’s team won the President’s Trophy by finishing first overall in both the A and B divisions. Each division featured 12 races against boats from each of the other 16 schools.

Skipper Claire Dennis ’13 and crew Charlotte Belling ’16 won the highly competitive A division, while Emily Billing ’13 and Amanda Salvesen ’14 won the B division, finishing first in 11 of their 12 races.

Facing conditions similar to those at Tufts, the women’s team adapted to shifty winds all weekend. Billing said that the team is getting used to changing its strategy after sailing in relatively unstable conditions all season.

“Most weekends have prepared us for the shifty and puffy conditions like we saw this weekend,” she said.

Following their victories this weekend, both the women’s and coed teams now begin the process of qualifying for ICSA National Championships. Dennis said that despite their strong No. 1 national ranking, the Bulldogs aren’t taking qualification lightly.

“We are not guaranteed a spot at nationals because of our ranking, so we are not taking anything for granted and just continuing to work on our individual goals,” she said.

The women’s first step towards nationals will be placing in the top seven at the New England Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Women’s Dinghy Championships hosted by Tufts in two weeks. The coed team will travel to Brown the same weekend to sail in the New England Dinghy Championship.

The women’s team travels to New London, Conn., next weekend for its last regatta of the season.

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