In addition to helping the Yale coed sailing team win the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Team Race National Championship in June, crew Charlotte Belling ’16 has achieved personal recognition for her achievements as well. Belling was a first-team all-ICSA crew and a first-team all-New England Inter-Collegiate Saling Association crew selection. She sat down with the News to talk about the team’s first weekend back on the water for the 2014–’15 campaign.
Q. What’s your takeaway from last weekend out on the water? Were you happy with second place or are there still a few cobwebs to shake off the sails before you can whip out the spinnakers?
A. Last weekend’s results showed us that although we have a lot to work on, we’re able to successfully compete in a range of conditions. The Harry Anderson was a great opportunity to try some new pairings and ease into the season at a venue that we are comfortable with. The underclassmen showed particular promise this weekend. Freshman Chris Champa made his college debut sailing with Graham in A Division in very breezy conditions, while Mitchell Kiss and Clara Robertson finished consistently at the top of B Division. This past weekend was a learning experience for everyone, and it has definitely motivated us to improve certain aspects of our game.
Q. What do you think the team will have to do better this weekend in order to improve from your last outing?
A. I think that this week we will be focusing on fine-tuning our boat handling and improving our communication within the boat. It’s all about these little improvements, especially towards the beginning of the season. As people adjust to new partners and new venues, it’s important to stick to the basics and not get too get caught up with results. We are getting better every day, and I’m excited to see our training show in the results.
Q. After such an amazing season last year, do you think there is added pressure to perform this season? Do you feel as if there is a target on Yale’s back?
A. I see last year’s success as motivation rather than pressure. After losing many talented seniors, it’s important to recognize that we’re a new team with different strengths and weaknesses. We have a very strong freshmen class, and I think everyone is excited to see what we can accomplish. Last year, we went into the fall and spring confident in what we knew but also eager to improve, and that attitude kept us consistently ranked at the top. This type of approach is pretty unbeatable.
Q. What are you expectations for this season and what regatta are you looking forward to the most?
A. I’m really excited to witness the depth of our team at various types of events. We will have both returners and newcomers sailing double-handed, single-handed and keel boat regattas. It’s amazing to see how our team adjusts to different types of racing and to watch certain people take on different roles. Someone like Marly Isler could potentially sail all three types of events, which is pretty amazing. I always enjoy the fall season because, while the regattas are very competitive, we still play around with pairings and have the freedom to experiment at practice and regattas. I think it’s an important time for everyone to work on tweaking certain things to prepare for our big events in the spring. I personally am excited for this weekend. I’ll be traveling to the Hatch Brown in Boston, where each NEISA school will bring three divisions of sailors to compete on the Charles River — known as one of the most difficult places to sail. It’s always a challenging regatta, but it will be exciting to have many of our team members sailing at one venue.
Q. What have you thought of the team’s new members? How have they added to the host of talent you guys have returned?
A. Our freshmen class is very talented, and each person has a different sailing background and set of skills. Already, it is clear that they can sail at a highly competitive level. We often have new members who are not familiar with college sailing boats or types of racing, but this year our freshmen were able to jump right into it.