SAILING: Sailing rides solo

KamariaGreenfield_sailing-101
Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

With the No. 1 coed sailing team and No. 1 women’s sailing team each preparing for the Atlantic Coast Championships in one week’s time, individuals from each squad competed for national championships.

On the coed side, Mitchell Kiss ’17 secured a fourth-place finish at the ICSA Men’s Singlehanded National Championship while Urska Kosir ’15 delivered a 15th-place result at the ICSA Women’s Singlehanded National Championship, representing the women’s squad.

The Men’s Nationals, which were hosted by Brown in Newport, R.I., saw two Elis competing for the national crown. In addition to Kiss, Ian Barrows ’17 sailed his way to 11th place in the field of 18 challengers.

The three-day event saw the best Laser sailors in the nation struggle to combat bitter cold and windy conditions on the water. The two Yale sailors had especially difficult days to begin the competition, combining for just four top 10 finishes out of the 12 races completed.

Barrows showed dramatic improvement on Saturday, however, as he reeled off five consecutive top-10 races, including four top-five results. While Barrows was unable to keep that hot streak alive on Sunday, his efforts and 164 points still earned him 11th place, finishing just nine points out of the top half of the national field.

Kiss was also quick to recover on Saturday, but he was able to maintain his momentum. Kiss did not fall out of the top 10 once on Saturday or Sunday and was even able to put together seven top-five finishes. One of those top five results was a victory in the eighth overall race of the regatta.

While the top three sailors in the event were able to put a substantial gap between themselves and the rest of the field, Kiss led the next tier of competitors. The freshman’s fourth-place result matched that of then-Yale captain Cameron Cullman ’13 at last year’s national championship, demonstrating how impressive a regatta Kiss sailed in his first national event on the collegiate level.

Yale was one of only two schools to send two sailors to compete at nationals. College of Charleston also sent two sailors to the Newport-based regatta.

On the women’s side, Kosir was finally able to realize her dream of competing at nationals after two consecutive years of falling just short in qualifying regattas. Also hosted by Brown, Kosir battled and fought all weekend despite overpowering wind gusts.

Kosir, who is much smaller physically than many of the sailors she competed against, was at a disadvantage from the beginning due to the intense winds. The finish was uncharacteristic compared to her suburb results this year, as she had not finished outside the top-four in any regatta that she entered this year. The conditions in Newport had other plans, however, as she acknowledged that there was only so much that she could do.

“I felt physically well-prepared but was lacking a couple of inches and pounds and my fitness could not compensate for that,” Kosir said. “Sailing was physically very demanding and it was hard, but at that point we all knew that it was not going to get any easier.”

Kosir suffered a Did Not Finish in the fourth race on Friday when her boat capsized and she was unable to recover, a result that hurt her significantly on the leaderboard. Kosir, however, took a positive spin on the fourth race.

Similarly strong winds persisted for the majority of the weekend, though Saturday’s sailing saw the breezes get lighter and more manageable. Not surprisingly, Kosir registered her best races on Saturday.

The women’s fall season will now conclude this upcoming weekend with the Atlantic Coast Championships, which are being held at Cornell.

The coed team has two weekends of high-stakes competition remaining, which also includes the ACCs this upcoming weekend. Instead of traveling to Cornell, the coed team will instead make the trip to College of Charleston for the prestigious regatta.

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