Four Yale sailors woke this weekend to chilly 40-degree weather and shifty winds. The South Carolina day was unexpectedly cold and wet, and the Elis had not practiced all winter. This did not dishearten them though; a return to the water was enough to bring satisfaction.
Two boats of co-ed dinghy sailors competed in Charleston, South Carolina for the Charleston Spring Intersectional, Yale’s first fleet regatta of the season, on February 18-19. The A and B divisions alternated in pairs of races throughout the day, racing 17 teams and 419 other boats from across the country. Throughout their six races on Saturday and six races on Sunday, the Bulldogs faced winds that ranged from 3-12 knots over the triangle windward courses.
The Elis sailed to a 10th place finish in the A Division with 111 points and a 4th place finish in the B Division with 73 points, bringing them to an 8th place finish as a team and a 184 point total.
“We sailed very well overall,” said Abby Coplin ’08. “Our finishes are not necessarily reflective of the quality of our sailing throughout most of the race.”
Coplin raced in the A division with teammate Phil Stemler ’07. Unfortunately, the timing and positioning was off for some of their starts, and their solid mid-race performances were not enough to recover from the early time loss, Coplin said.
“One of the things not being in practice will effect is your sense of judgement, you know, eyeballing,” Stemler said.
Stemler is a staff reporter for the News.
Rusty skills aside, though, the regatta gave the pair an opportunity to pinpoint what they need to focus on for future races. With practice, Stemler said, they hope to improve their results.
Adriane Levin ’09 and Matt Barry ’07 represented the Bulldogs in the B Division, topping Ivy competitors Harvard and Brown, who finished fifth and eighth, respectively. But Barry and Levin failed to top Charleston, which secured a first place finish. Barry said Charleston’s knowledge of the course contributed to its strong finish, but he said he and Levin were still able to perform well. They made up for their lack of familiarity with their basic racing skills, which led them to an impressive performance.
“It’s a really tricky place, so there’s a lot of local knowledge involved,” Barry said.
Most of the sailors put the weekend into perspective, acknowledging that many of the teams they were racing had the advantage of warm weather throughout the fall and early winter, which allowed them to practice on a regular basis.
“It was kind of disappointing, but we hadn’t sailed all winter, whereas most of the other teams down there had,” Coplin said. “It was nice to be out on the water again.”
After leaving the dock in South Carolina, the team looks forward to more competition and water time back home.
“I’m really optimistic for our team as a whole this season,” Stemler said.
The Bulldogs will set their sails to the wind again on March 3 and 4 at the Team Racing Invite at Brown University.