After more than three months away from competition, the Yale women’s sailing team finally returned to action this weekend in South Carolina at the Charleston Women’s Interconference Regatta. Despite the lack of practice time, the Bulldogs finished third among 14 teams.
The delegation for the Elis, ranked second in the country and tied with Boston University as of last November, consisted of team captain and skipper Marly Isler ’16 and crew Natalya Doris ’17 competing in the A division. Skipper Casey Klingler ’18 and crew Isabelle Rossi de Leon ’17 represented Yale in the B division. The regatta was the Elis’ first time sailing since the final competition of the fall season and the first time the Bulldogs had been out on the water as well. Short Beach Cove, Yale’s home practice location, froze completely over this winter and prevented the Bulldogs from practicing in preparation for Charleston.
“It’s really nice to be able to compete in a regatta after not having sailed for three months and finish in third,” Doris said. “We were sailing against a lot of teams that had the opportunity to practice before the event, so we were really excited that we did better than a lot of them.”
Isler and Doris finished the two-day competition with 77 points, second among A division boats and two points in front of the eventual regatta champions, Georgetown. The A squad took on 13 other teams in flying juniors — a type of sailing dinghy used in U.S. college and high school programs — while battling winds upwards of 12 knots at the J. Stewart Walker Sailing complex.
Isler noted that the team was not too concerned with the results considering the Yale sailors’ lack of practice. She added that the results showed promise.
“Since the team has been on our off-season since Thanksgiving break, it was important this weekend to not be too hard on ourselves as we got back into the boats,” Isler said. “We came into this event at Charleston with absolutely no practice, so our in-boat communication needed a lot of work. However, I think our scores show that we are excited to keep improving throughout this season.”
Meanwhile, Klingler and Rossi de Leon ended the competition with 71 points, slightly behind Ivy rival Harvard but ahead of Vermont. The team as a whole finished in third place with 148 points, just four behind the aforementioned Catamounts and besting Harvard by nine points.
Rossi de Leon noted that although things were a little bit difficult at first, the women managed to get back into the swing of things by the end of the competition.
“Our boat handling was pretty atrocious compared to the end of last season, but that’s definitely forgivable … Casey and I haven’t sailed together, or at all, in months,” Rossi de Leon said. “After a few races, our sailing tactics were back. We started hitting the shifts properly, and it felt natural to be back on the water. Though we were over at the start in one race, our starts were generally pretty good as well.”
The Elis will begin training this week at Yale for the spring season before they head off to St. Mary’s College of Maryland for a week of practice over spring break.
The coed team will head to Charleston as well next weekend to compete at the Bob Bavier team race. The next event for the women’s team will take place on March 14 and 15 at the Navy Women’s Interconference.