The Bulldog sailors were able to come back from early losses and qualify for the biggest event of the fall season.

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The No. 1 women’s team qualified for the Atlantic Coast Championships by finishing fifth at the Victorian Urn in New London, Conn. on the Thames River. A few hundred yards away at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the No. 8 coed team also qualified for the Atlantic Coast Championships with a sixth place finish at the Schell Trophy. At the Yale-hosted Dave Perry Trophy, the Bulldogs fielded two teams that finished fourth and 12th. In addition, coed freshmen headed north to Massachusetts Maritime for the Nickerson Trophy where they placed 11th.

The women’s team needed a top-seven finish at the Victorian Urn at Connecticut College in order to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championships, the biggest regatta of the fall season. And although the Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in the nation, they knew that qualifying would not be an easy task.

“All of us knew that we couldn’t rely on previous rankings,” said Heather May ’13. “In the past, we’ve been in the top three and haven’t qualified.”

In fact, Brown University came into the regatta tied with Yale as the top women’s team in the nation but failed to make the cut.

On Saturday, A division skipper Claire Dennis ’13 and crew May got off to a great start by winning the first race of the competition. They would tally two additional top three finishes the same day. In the B division, Marlena Fauer ’14 and Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 grabbed third and fourth place finishes on the first day of competition, but were fouled on the start of their fifth race, which resulted in a 14th place finish. The Bulldogs were in third at the conclusion of the Saturday round.

“We kind of felt secure [about the team’s position], but at the same time, anything could have happened on Sunday,” May said. “We had to keep on finishing well to make sure we qualified.”

On Sunday, Dennis and May started with a fourth place finish. After two races, Isabel Elliman ’12 took over for May. The three did enough to finish fourth in the A division. Fauer and Custo Greig took three fifths over the last six races en route to a seventh place B division finish.

“In sailing, there are just things that you can’t control,” Custo Greig said of the Saturday foul and the river’s shifty conditions. “We got what we needed to get done, but we felt like we could have done a lot better,”

Less than a mile down river from the women’s competition, the coed team needed to place within the top eight at the Schell Trophy in order to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championship. However, the Bulldogs’ hopes looked in doubt at the end of Saturday when they sat in 11th place. In the A division, Joseph Morris ’12 and Amanda Salvesen ’14 started off inconsistently but accumulated two top-threes over Saturday’s ten races. In the B division, skipper Cameron Cullman ’13 and Blair Belling ’11 sailed together for the first eight races, taking a third amid several finishes below 10th. Chris Segerblom ’14 later took over for Cullman and finished Saturday’s last two races, taking sixth and 11th.

The Elis responded quickly as Morris and Salvesen won Sunday’s second race. Segerblom and Belling added to that comeback with back-to-back wins in Sunday’s first two B division races.

After the winds picked up, Rafael Fernandez ’13 took over for Salvesen, and crewed with Morris during the last four races. The three combined to give the Bulldogs a ninth place finish in the A division. May, who had comepted in the Victorian Urn for the women’s team the earlier in the day, substituted in for Belling and worked with Segerblom, amassing three top-fives in the final six races. This gave the Elis a seventh place B division finish. The sixth place overall finish for the coed team, gave them a berth for the Atlantic Coast Championships in St. Petersburg, Fla. two weeks from now.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Custo Greig said. “It will be nice to see some teams from the south. It should be a lot of fun.”

Back in New Haven, Yale’s McNay Family Sailing Center hosted the first Dave Perry Trophy. The competition is named in honor of Dave Perry ’77, captain of the 1975 national championship team, who still works with Yale sailing through his role as a board member of the Yale Sailing Associates and as a rule advisor to the Elis.

In the inagural competition, the Bulldogs fielded two teams, the Yale Bulldogs, and the Yale Elis. Rob Struckett ’12 and Tatyana Camejo ’11 started the A division competition for the Yale Bulldogs. Emily Billing ’13 later subbed in for Camejo. The trio finished fourth in their division. Skipper Andrew Kurzrok ’11 and crew Alexa Chu ’11 finished fourth in the B division, giving the Bulldogs a fourth place overall finish.

Nathan Stevens ’11, Senem Cilingiroglu ’13, Katherine Eshel ’13, Sinead O’Brien ’13, and Emily Farr ’14 participated on the Yale Elis and finished 12th.

Freshmen sailors traveled north to Massachusetts Maritime for the Nickerson Trophy, a freshmen-only regatta. Max Nickbarg ’14 and Anna Han ’14 grabbed second in the A division, while B division sailors Nace Cohen ’14 and Maddy Yozwiak ’14 finished 13th.

Next weekend, Cullman, Dennis and Billing will travel south into the warmth of St. Petersburg, Florida to compete in the National Singlehanded Championships. The rest of the team resumes competition at the Atlantic Coast Championships Nov. 13-14.