With only one day of practice, the No. 4 Yale coed sailing team pulled off a tight team victory this weekend.
A three-pair team represented the Bulldogs at the two-day Bob Bavier Team Race, which marked the team race season opener for the team. Hosted by the College of Charleston on the Cooper River in South Carolina, the race saw the team sail to a 23–4 victory, edging past No. 9 Stanford’s record of 22–5 and No. 2 Charleston’s third-place record of 21–6.
In team racing, each of a school’s three boats face off against another school’s fleet of three boats. A team’s score is equal to the sum of the ranks of its three boats, and the team with the lowest score wins the round. Each school competes in a total of 27 rounds.
“This victory was a great place to start off this season,” sailing head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 said. “We’re still trying to shake the rust off, and we’ve got a lot of improvement to make, but we were pretty solid across the board.”
Leonard added that the weekend provided good sailing conditions for competition, despite the freezing weather.
By the end of the first day, the Bulldogs were in third place with an 11–4 tally, but went on to win all 12 races the next day. The tournament result came down to the last race against Stanford, in which crew member Genoa Warner ’12 said the Yale team narrowly beat the Cardinal. Warner added that team members did not even know the overall score until after the entire event.
Leonard attributed the team’s victory to the experience of the three skippers, Joseph Morris ’12, captain Cameron Cullman ’13 and Chris Segerblom ’14.
While colder weather in the Northeast meant that the team only had one full day of practice before the event — compared to nearly a month for some of the Bulldogs’ western and southern rivals — the team had weekly meetings during the winter offseason to discuss team race strategy.
Heather May ’13, who crewed for the Bulldogs, said the team has not changed its racing strategies over the years, but focused on how they would implementing them during the meetings. She added that she was pleased by how the team performed, and at this point the team’s technique just needs fine-tuning.
The Bulldogs will train for the first week of spring break in Florida after competing next weekend at the Eckerd Intersectional in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Leonard said the team’s training program in Florida will depend upon the weather conditions there.