The coed and women’s sailing teams reinforced their place among college sailing’s elite with impressive displays this weekend. The women’s team had two members qualify for the National Championships in Laser Radials, while the coeds traveled to three regattas, finishing within the top three in each.
In Branford, Conn., the women’s team hosted the New England Championships, a qualifier for the Singlehanded Nationals which will take place later this fall in Chicago. The Singlehanded Nationals are sailed in Laser Radials, which are one-person boats. The team currently holds the reigning champion in Laser Radials, Claire Dennis ’13, as well as last year’s fourth–place finisher, Emily Billing ’13. By finishing among the top five at the qualifiers, the teammates ensured that they would have a chance to defend their accomplishments in Chicago.
The scene at Nationals will be more familiar than intimidating to the Yale pair. Even the prospect of racing Boston College’s Anne Haeger, first-place finisher at the qualifiers this weekend and last year’s close runner-up to Dennis at Nationals, brings a sense of comfort to Dennis and Billing.
“I don’t really feel any pressure having won last year,” Dennis explained. “Emily, Anne and I all grew up together. We’ve all been teammates and competitors most of the time we’ve known each other.”
Billing added, “It’s nice to have a bunch of familiar faces around you, and it’s sort of like it’s back to eight years ago when we all started racing together. I think it makes it more relaxed.”
Also this weekend, the coed team sent squads to regattas hosted by Tufts, Connecticut College and the Coast Guard Academy, finishing in the top three at each and winning the Connecticut College Invitational.
The team’s third-place finish at the Danmark Trophy, hosted by the Coast Guard Academy on the Thames River, was its most important result of the weekend. The Danmark Trophy is an intersectional regatta, which means that it consists of the best teams from different regions across the country. This year, 17 of the top 20 teams in the country sailed at the Danmark.
Captain Joe Morris ’12, who skippered in the A division at the regatta, lauded the team’s performance.
“The Danmark every year is the first big intersectional,” he said. “All the top teams send their top sailors to the regatta. We were really pleased with the results.”
At the Connecticut College Invitational on the Thames River, the Elis emerged victorious by a wide margin, clearly separating themselves from the rest of the nine teams in attendance. The Bulldogs gathered a modest 95 points from 24 total races, 12 in each division. In second place, Connecticut College had 142. In the A division, skipper Graham Landy ’15 and crew Eugenia Custo Grieg ’14 racked up a mere 24 points in their 12 races, including six first-place finishes.
“I thought I sailed well and consistently,” Landy said. “I think that I’m starting to put together the things I’ve learned in practice.”
In the Central Series 4, hosted by Tufts, the Yale coeds took third place out of seven teams following just one day of sailing. Team members called their third place finish encouraging, though some added that the small number of teams participating made the regatta less significant. Saturday’s events were canceled due to lack of wind.
Next week, the women’s sailing team will travel to a regatta in Annapolis, MD, while the coed team will participate in three different regattas. Just as Dennis and Billing qualified this weekend for Nationals in Laser Radials, Max Nickbarg ’14 and Cam Cullman ’13 will hope to do the same in the Men’s New England Singlehanded Championships. In addition, a squad of Bulldogs will travel to the University of Rhode Island, while much of the coed team will sail in a big-boat regatta in Larchmont, NY.