If this weekend’s races are any indicator of its mettle, Yale will field a young, bold and successful women’s sailing team this fall.
This weekend, the Bulldogs competed at the Man-Labs Trophy and the Captains Cup, hosted by MIT and Tufts, respectively. Their second-place finish on the Charles River on Saturday, followed by their first-place finish the next day, has the Bulldogs off to an impressive start in the 2007-’08 campaign.
“The waters [at both meets] were very shifty, very hard to maneuver, hard to navigate,” Kate Hagemann ’09 said. “We did a great job of adjusting to the velocity changes because we had to. We needed more response than we do at Yale. Hilary [Shapiro ’08] and I were able to deliver.”
The 10 programs at Man-Labs included all eight teams in the Ivy League, Tufts and MIT. The Yale A team, composed of Hagemann and Shapiro, placed second with 41 points total. The B team, anchored by Rebecca Jackson ’10 and Liz Brim ’11, finished in fifth with 118 points total.
Harvard won the event with a score of 134.
Unfavorable sailing conditions caused the majority of the Bulldogs’ difficulties. The less than idyllic conditions caused the Yale teams to lose speed and boat handling advantage in comparison with their more tested rivals.
“Riding on the Charles River made it difficult, as usual, for us to completely focus on the event at hand,” Hagemann said. “They practice in those conditions whereas we practice here at Yale. That we were able to pull out a victory on Sunday is all the more impressive.”
Sunday’s victory at the Captain’s Cup was an inspiring performance by this young and talented team. With many members of the senior-heavy 2006-’07 squad having graduated, this year’s team will depend heavily on the performance of freshmen and sophomores.
“The underclassmen are going to be huge for us this year,” Hagemann said. “We have so many new freshman and much of our [success] rests on their success.”
The contributions of the new team members rely on their ability to adjust to college sailing, a challenging task for even the most skillful Yalie, let alone freshmen who may have never sailed. The sport requires split-second ‘responses’ and counter-intuitive athletic movements, team members said.
“The way it works, we spend a lot of time recruiting out of the student body, looking for people who may have never sailed before,” Jane Macky ’09 said. “It is two people to each boat. If one person has an idea of what to do, or is the more skilled skipper, she can work with a walk-on or someone who doesn’t know as much.”
Utilizing the experience of upperclassmen, the team is able to continue to produce All-American sailors from inexperienced freshmen and newcomers to the sport, team members said. Members of the women’s sailing team came to Yale on Aug. 29 to train together in preparation for the upcoming season.
The Bulldogs’ next regatta is on Saturday and Sunday at Dartmouth, where they will be racing at the two-day Mrs. Hurst Bowl.