Molly Carapiet ’06, Yale’s All-American women’s skipper, will be returning to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Vanguard North American Women’s Singlehanded Championship for the second time in three years.

Carapiet finished fourth at the New England Women’s Singlehanded Championships at MIT Saturday, qualifying her for nationals and the long trip to the frigid waters of Lake Minnetonka, Minn. The North American Championships are scheduled for October 22-24, and the boats will be the same class — fast, one-person lasers — that Carapiet sailed at the New England Championships this weekend.

“I’m really happy to go to nationals again,” Carapiet said. “Sunday was a hard day of sailing, with light winds and a lot of current. I’ll just take the conditions as they come.”

Carapiet, who helped lead the No. 1 Elis to their first national title this May, finished second in the North American Women’s Singlehanded Championship in 2002 but failed to qualify last season.

Carapiet’s qualification for the singlehanded championships means that the Elis are now one step closer to the Fowle Trophy — the Holy Grail of college sailing — that has been in Harvard’s possession for the past four years. With Carapiet headed for the championships and Yale earning a berth to the national sloops championship last weekend in Niantic, Conn., the Bulldogs are eligible to compete for at least two of the six national sailing championships. The school with the best overall performance in these six national championships wins the Fowle.

Matt Barry ’07, meanwhile, has brought the Elis one step closer to competing in a third national championship. Barry’s seventh-place finish at the Men’s Singlehanded Eliminations at Connecticut College Sunday earned him a spot in the New England Men’s Singlehanded Championships. The top four finishes at New Englands are given a ticket to nationals.

Hannah Oakland ’07, who regularly sails with Barry in doublehanded regattas, said his finish was a big step.

“[Barry] actually came to Yale as mainly a laser sailor, so this is kind of his thing,” Oakland said. “This is the first time we’ve really focused on having a laser team, and Matt has been appointed head of the laser fleet this year. It would be great if he could go to nationals.”

Coed team captain Meredith Killion ’05 said she was impressed that tough conditions in Boston and New London posed no challenge to Barry or Carapiet.

“The conditions were really tough, with basically no wind from a direction at both of those venues where its very shifty and hard to figure out what’s going on,” Killion said. “I’m really impressed that both of them did really well because we don’t get that condition too often at home.”

Carapiet said she was pleased she had qualified for national competition and hoped that Barry would as well.

“The more nationals we’re attending, the better chance we have to win the [Fowle] Trophy,” Carapiet said.

The rest of Yale’s weekend, however, was not as impressive. The Bulldogs finished 16th of 18 at the Hood Trophy at Tufts partially because top skippers like Zach Brown ’08 and Stu McNay ’05 spent the weekend at home. Brown, McNay and others stayed behind to compete in a practice regatta in Branford against No. 4 St. Mary’s and No. 8 Connecticut College. The teams were warming up for next weekend’s crucial Danmark Trophy, where the top two teams get a ride to the Atlantic Coast Championships.

Killion said the weekend was a great opportunity for the less-experienced sailors to participate in high-level sailing and for the top skippers and crews to get in some quality practice.

“We thought that it would be better to keep [Brown and McNay] at home for team racing and give other people — a chance to sail in a really competitive varsity event,” Killion said.

Barry and Oakland sailed in A division on the first day of the Hood, but were replaced Sunday when Barry left for the singlehanded regatta and Phil Stemler ’07 and Hillary Shapiro ’08 came up from New Haven. Yale finished 17th of 18 in A division. In B division, Benoit Bewley ’05 and crew Courtney Cox ’06 fared better, finishing 12th.

At home, Yale sailed about 30 practice team races on Saturday and only lost three or four, Killion said. In standard fleet racing, each school sends an A and B boat, whose scores are combined for the final result. One point is awarded for first, two for second, three for third and so on, with the lowest combined score winning. In team racing, schools send three boats each, which compete in single or double round-robin races. Yale, St. Mary’s and Connecticut competed in team racing on Saturday and fleet racing on Sunday.

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