With a first-place finish at the 69th Erwin Schell Trophy at MIT — considered the unofficial fall NEISA championship — the coed sailing team earned a place in the Atlantic Coast Championships (ACCs), to be held Nov. 14-15 in Boston. It was the team’s first victory at the Schell since 1976.
Across the Charles River at Harvard, the women’s team sailed to a third place victory at the Victorian Coffee Urn and secured a place at the women’s ACCs, to be held Nov. 14-15 at Brown.
“Historically our team apparently doesn’t do very well in the Charles River,” coed captain Thomas Barrows ’10 said. “It was a pretty big win.”
With crazy weather complicating the weekend, the coed sailors also raced, and placed first, at the Team Race Series Two at Roger Williams University, and 14th at the Nickerson Trophy at BU.
Boston’s weather proved a challenge at the Schell. With 20-30–knot breezes capsizing and damaging vessels, high winds bossed around the competition.
“The Charles is unpredicatable,” Blair Belling ’11 said. “We knew what we were trying to do, but you can go up and down all day there.”
Barrows and Marla Menninger ’10 started out in the A division in Tech Dinghies, a type of boat designed by MIT sailors for the team’s regattas. After four races, Rafael Fernandez ’13 replaced Menninger as crew to help deal with the wind. The duo of Barrows and Fernandez then sailed six races together. The pair had two byes and placed first once, second once and fourth twice.
For the final two races of the day, Barrows switched to an FJ and Menninger rejoined him as crew.
In the B divison, Joe Morris ’12 skippered an FJ with crew Mike Hession ’10 for the first 10 races. When Morris switched to a Tech dinghy for the last two races of the day, Fernandez joined him as crew. The pair placed 10th and seventh.
Throughout the day, Roger Williams University led the competition, but when Sunday brought lighter, shifty winds, the Bulldogs began their comeback.
“Everyone’s scores were up and down the whole day,” Barrows said. “You create your own luck, but at the same time there is a certain element of luck that played into the win.”
For all the races on Sunday, Belling took her usual place as Barrows’ crew and Menninger sailed with Morris. Roger Williams University, which was leading with 222 points to Yale’s 251, struggled to three 12th-place finishes and an 18th-place finish in the team’s last four races. The Hawks’ poor performances, combined with high finishes by the Elis, allowed the Bulldogs to grab the win just barely, 262–276.
The women’s team experienced the same howling conditions on Saturday at the Victorian Coffee Urn, limiting the number of races to 10.
In the A division, Sarah Lihan ’10 and Elizabeth Brim ’11 placed second with 36 points. In the B division, Claire Dennis ’13, Heather May ’13, Genoa Warner ’12 and Stephanie Schuyler ’12 combined for 50 points and a sixth-place finish.
Boston College took the regatta with 57 points, followed by Connecticut College’s 63 points. Yale placed third with 86 points.
In a one-day race hosted by Roger Williams, another group of coed sailors won the Team Race Series Two. Yale raced nine of 10 scheduled races but finished the day 4–1 when the second uncompleted set of five races was thrown out. A protested conflict between Tufts and Roger Williams allowed the Elis to ascend to first place.
Experiencing the same difficult weather as the Schell Trophy sailors, the Yale freshmen sailed to a 14th place finish at the New England freshman championship, also known as the Nickerson Trophy, at Boston University. Emily Billing ’13, Fernandez and Grace Zimmerly ’13 placed 12th in the A division. In the B division, Zachary Foreman ’13 and Senem Cilingiroglu ’13 finished 17th.
At the Providence College Invite on Saturday, John Vrolyk ’10 and Isabel Elliman ’12 competed in the A division, while Christopher Ell ’12 and Alexa Chu ’11 raced in the B division. Each duo only sailed two races before a small-craft advisory warning forced officials to call the regatta.
“I wound up capsizing in one race and had my crew member fly out of the boat in the other,” Ell said. “It was fun and interesting, but a bit much for everybody.”
One of the main difficulties was that the masts of the capsized vessels got stuck in the mud, making the difficult to bring upright, Ell said.
Next weekend Barrows, Lihan, Dennis and Billing will travel to Corpus Christi, Texas, for the ICSA Singlehanded National Championships. The event will be sailed in Lasers and Laser Radials. The following weekend, Nov. 14-15, the Elis will travel to Harvard for the coed’s and Brown for the women’s ACCs.
“If we win that we win the East Coast,” Belling said. “Knowing that the Schell went well for us is a great confidence booster, though you never want to get overconfident with the Charles.”