In its second competitive weekend of the year, the only Yale team looking to defend three national championships built on an encouraging start to its fall season.
The Yale sailing team competed in four regattas throughout the Northeast, showing the potential that should, once again, make the Bulldogs a major player come the higher-stakes spring. Six members of the co-ed team put an exclamation point on the weekend by capturing the Hatch Brown Trophy at MIT for the second consecutive year.
Each Yale pair racing through the notoriously unpredictable winds on the Charles finished in the top five in its division. Ian Barrows ’17 and Natalya Doris ’17 placed fourth in the Hatch Brown A division, while Clara Robertson ’17 and Mitchell Kiss ’17 took first in the B division with just 57 points — an average of essentially a fourth-place finish in each of the event’s 14 races.
The boat of Chandler Gregoire ’17 and Malcolm Lamphere ’18 topped the C division, ensuring Yale’s 14-point overall victory in Cambridge.
At the same time, a pair of freshmen helped guide Yale to an 11th-place finish out of 20 teams at the Nevins Trophy in Kings Point, New York. Nic Baird ’19, who was sailing in his first college regatta, described how conditions at Kings Point helped him transition to the new level of competition.
“Yale has unique conditions that most teams don’t get. A lot of college sailing venues are on lakes or rivers, and they have really unstable wind conditions. But Kings Point is pretty similar to ours in the sense that it’s steady,” Baird said. “So we had basically been practicing in the conditions we had at K.P. for almost every day of practice we’ve had so far.”
Baird, along with Claire Huebner ’18 and Amelia Dobronyi ’17, finished fourth in the A division. Nick Hernandez ’19 and Emily Johnson ’16 placed second in the B division.
“I had been practicing with Nick for a little bit in the weeks leading up to [last weekend], and it was a lot of fun sailing with him,” said Johnson of the freshman-senior duo. “He’s a really great sailor. He’s one of the guys in the freshman class we’re really excited about.”
As the Nevins was a three-division event, Christopher Champa ’18 was forced to race solo in the final group in an unfamiliar Laser dinghy. The result was a lagging score in the C-division column, which accounted for over 50 percent of the team’s total points.
The Bulldogs also turned in an eighth-place overall finish at the Central Series, hosted by Boston College. The A-division boat of KB Knapp ’18, Caroline Colwell ’18 and Claire Rossi de Leon ’19 finished fourth in the Boston Harbor, while Rossi de Leon, Charles Skoda ’17, and Ayla Besemer ’19 came 13th in the B.
Meanwhile, the women’s team stayed in state and competed for the Stu Nelson Trophy, hosted by Connecticut College. After winning the event a year ago, the team, represented by Casey Klingler ’18 and Isabelle Rossi de Leon ’17 in the A division and by Marly Isler ’16 and Kira Woods ’19 in the B division, placed fourth overall.
Klingler and Rossi de Leon particularly impressed, finishing only nine points out of the A division first place, good for third in the pair’s A-division debut. They capped off the competition in New London by winning the 12th and final race of the event.
“I think we sailed really well. I think we did a really good job of being consistent, especially across the two days, because the conditions were completely different,” Rossi de Leon said. “I honestly didn’t know how [Klingler and I] would do, especially in our first A women’s regatta. I have complete faith that we can be successful and maybe even dominate the division this season and next season, but the first one’s always a little nerve-wracking. So I guess it was a pleasant surprise that it didn’t feel difficult.”
Three Bulldogs who raced in the co-ed events will help make up the women’s team this weekend. Knapp and Colwell return to Massachusetts, where they will race in the A division of the Regis Bowl, hosted on the Charles by Boston University. Huebner will pair with Sanam Rastegar ’16 in the B, and the four will try to give Yale its third-straight win at the event.
Members of the co-ed team will split between three locations. Some will travel to the Ocean State, where they will compete at the Salt Pond Invitational, hosted by the University of Rhode Island. The rest will head up to Massachusetts, participating in either Tufts’ Hood Trophy or in the New England Men’s Singlehanded Championship, hosted by Yale at the New Bedford Yacht Club in South Dartmouth.