Splitting its squad between a pair of regattas this past weekend, the No. 2 Yale coed sailing team coasted to a 60-point victory to repeat as champions at the Dartmouth-hosted Hewitt Trophy, while notching a fourth-place finish at the Danmark Trophy in New London, Connecticut as well.
Also over the weekend, the Sailing World College Rankings — out for the first time in the fall season — ranked both the coed and women’s teams second in the nation. But captain Charlotte Belling ’16 said that in October, Yale’s sailors are more focused on their progress than on specific statistics and rankings.
“We try not to focus on [rankings] at the beginning of the year,” Belling said. “It’s interesting to see how we match up against other teams so far, but we’re taking the season week-by-week and focusing on how we can use each event to improve and ultimately achieve top results [later in the season].”
Asked about the rankings, head coach Zachary Leonard said he “tends to ignore those.” He added that his focus is more on the Atlantic Coast Championships in the fall and the ICSA National Championships in the spring.
The Bulldogs divided themselves fairly evenly for the two regattas, sending top sailors to both the Hewitt Trophy and the Danmark, which was hosted by the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Of the three Eli sailors who qualified for the Men’s Singlehanded National Championships last week, for example, two sailed in the Hewitt Trophy and one competed at the Danmark.
The top Eli finish at the Hewitt Trophy came in the C division, where skipper Nick Hernandez ’19, sailing with crew Emily Johnson ’16 and Caroline Colwell ’18, recorded a first place finish — 24 points ahead of the second-place finishers from Boston University, and 44 points ahead of third-place Connecticut College.
In the B division of the Hewitt, Nic Baird ’19 served as the skipper alongside crew Belling and Colwell. The boat tallied 48 points to land a second-place finish, nine points behind the first-place finishers from Dartmouth.
Baird, after placing third in the New England Singlehanded Championships -— and earning himself a national championship berth in the process — switched to doublehanded this past weekend. Leonard said switching from single to doublehanded is not uncommon for skilled skippers.
“There is nothing to indicate that someone who is good at singlehanded wouldn’t be good at doublehanded, but singlehanded is a little bit of a specialty,” Leonard said. “You have to have sailed that boat growing up. But it doesn’t necessarily go the other way. Doublehanded sailors might not be good singlehanded.”
In the A division, Malcolm Lamphere ’18 raced with Chandler Gregoire ’17 and finished fourth.
Over at the Danmark Trophy, Ian Barrows ’17 and Natalya Doris ’17 finished third in the A division, while Mitchell Kiss ’17, Clara Robertson ’17 and Christopher Champa ’18 finished ninth in the B division.
Belling noted that finishing towards the top in two major events requires a deep team, with talent across the board.
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that we can achieve top results at many events in a given weekend,” Belling said. “Many teams were not able to send two groups of competitive sailors to both of these events.”
Competing at multiple events in the same weekend also allows younger sailors a chance to perform on a big stage early on in their careers.
Lamphere said that he sees these busy weekends as opportunities for growth among many sailors, and as an indicator of future success.
“Plenty of people got a chance to sail and learn, which will help us a lot moving forward,” Lamphere said. “Giving the less experienced [sailors] opportunities is great for our success later on.”
The women’s regatta, The Connecticut College Invitational Regatta, was canceled due to inclement weather. The Eli women will compete next at the U.S. Naval Academy Women’s Fall Regatta in Annapolis, Maryland.