For many who participate in Division I sports, freshman year is a time spent mostly on the bench. This is not so for Yale’s sailing team, where freshmen have achieved or helped achieve some of the program’s greatest successes this year.

Stu McNay ’04, the coed team captain and A division skipper, said the class of 2006 has significantly contributed to the team.

“As always the freshman class is integral to our team because they are the building blocks of our future,” McNay said. “Molly Carapiet ’06 has distinguished herself at the highest level at national events, and others have been major contributors on the crewing side.”

Nearly every freshman sailor on the team has either skippered or crewed in a major regatta this season. Carapiet regularly skippers in the A division for the women’s team at major regattas, and Sarah Himmelfarb ’06 crews for her often. Carapiet placed second in the Women’s Singlehanded National Sailing Championship in Houston, Texas, Nov. 8-10, and won the New England Women’s Singlehanded Championships in Boston, Mass., Oct. 6.

But sailors like Carapiet who compete on a very high level nationally are not the only Yale freshmen making significant contributions to the team. Courtney Cox ’06 spent Nov. 16 crewing for Julie Papanek ’05 in the B division at the women’s Atlantic Coast Championships, where Yale took third.

Papanek said the team owed much to its freshmen.

“When we went to the ACCs Saturday three of the four people on the team were freshmen,” Papanek said. “To come to an event and get third with such a young contingent gives us a lot of hope for the future.”

Freshmen have taken significant roles on the coed team as well. Eivind Karlsen ’06 crewed McNay’s boat on the second day of the coed Atlantic Coast Championships.

McNay said Karlsen had been a great help to him in the ACCs.

“It was fantastic for me to sail with one of our most talented freshmen skippers in the position of crew,” McNay said. “He was able to offer a lot to improve our boat’s performance.”

Besides their many and varied achievements in varsity boats, Yale freshman sailors have been performing well on their own level. After qualifying for the New England Freshmen Championships/Nickerson Trophy race at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Nov. 2-3, the freshmen fell just one place short of qualifying for the freshman Atlantic Coast Championships.

Yale is not the only sailing program in which freshmen have been prominent recently. Andrew Campbell, a freshman at Georgetown University who is the top-ranked sailor on the U.S. Olympic Team, won the Men’s Singlehanded National Sailing Championship Nov. 8-10 in Houston.

Although he did not sail in the championship, Andrew Schram ’06 was also a fixture at freshman sailing events throughout the season, including the Freshmen Series Seven at Boston College on Nov. 3. At the freshmen championship itself, Karlsen and Cox sailed with crews Newland Baldwin ’06 and Meghan Pearl ’06, and finished just three points short of an Atlantic Coast Championship berth.

Zack Leonard ’89, the sailing teams’ head coach, praised the freshmen at the time of that race.

“I have been very encouraged by the freshman results and I think they’ve improved a ton this year,” Leonard said.

Leonard said that the freshmen had adapted well to fit with how the team works.

“The nature of our team is such that we have some freshmen competing at a very high level regularly,” Leonard said. “But all of the freshmen have performed very well so far this season.”

Papanek summed up the teams’ attitude towards the freshmen.

“We are all just very appreciative of the fact that they chose to come to Yale,” Papanek said.