Over this past weekend, three of Yale’s sailors competed at the Men’s Singlehanded National Championship, where 18 individuals battled on the Old Dominion waters for the honor of being named the best Laser sailor in the nation.
When the action of the weekend had concluded and the boats come ashore, Yale’s Malcolm Lamphere ’18 emerged victorious and claimed the national championship.
“It’s a great honor to bring this trophy back to Yale,” Lamphere said. “I could not have done it without the support of the team or my coaches.”
Mitchell Kiss ’17, who placed fifth, and Nicholas Baird ’19, who finished seventh, were the other two finalists for the Bulldogs. Yale tied the College of Charleston for bringing the largest number of sailors of any school to the championship event. No other school sent more than one.
According to Baird, sending three boats demonstrates more than just the top-tier talent of the No. 2 Yale coed sailing team.
“I think it shows that after the three of us qualified for nationals, our training together and support for each other allowed us to outperform so many other teams,” Baird said. “A lot of it is straight talent, but much of it, too, is effort, that we push each other in a way that doesn’t make us competitive within ourselves.”
Harvard’s Juan Perdomo placed second in the competition, just three points behind Lamphere, after a late charge saw the Crimson junior win the final two races of the 11-race competition. Perdomo finished first in the New England Singlehanded Championship, ahead of all three Yale sailors, which acted as the qualifier for the national championship.
Following Lamphere and Perdomo were two Charleston boats in third and fourth separated by a tiebreaker, before Kiss, who rounded out the top-five. Stefano Peschiera, who won the competition last year, sailed the fourth-place Charleston boat.
In addition to the tight finish between the top two boats, only eight points separated first from fourth place. Peschiera sailed to victory by 26 points over second last year.
“The three of the top four who weren’t from Yale are all current Olympic hopefuls or have already qualified for the Games from their respective countries,” Baird said. “Nevin Snow, who was last year’s College Sailor of the Year, got eighth [this year]; the fleet was extremely hard.”
In 2014, Lamphere placed fourth, but this year a strong stretch of races helped earn him the title. On Saturday, Lamphere got off on the wrong foot, finishing in eighth in the first race of the competition. But over the next five races, the Lake Forest, Illinois native did not finish outside the top three, highlighted by a victory in the third race of the championship.
Lamphere maintained his place atop the leaderboard from the fourth race through the eighth, but faltered in the ninth race with an 11th-place result that momentarily knocked him out of first. Heading into the final two races in second place, Lamphere finished in second and third, respectfully, to climb back into first.
While other sailors such as Perdomo won more races, Lamphere’s eight top-three finishes over the weekend were enough to earn the Eli the national crown.
In conquering such a talented fleet of sailors, Lamphere attributed much of his win to his teammates and coaches.
“Bill [Healy] and Zack [Leonard] were amazing in guiding me to a great performance, as well as [Kiss] and [Baird], who were essential in my performance this weekend,” Lamphere said. “They were great competitors as well as great teammates who were crucial in my success this weekend.”
The remainder of the coed team as well as the women’s squad had the weekend off. Both the coed and women’s teams will head to Old Dominion to compete in the Atlantic Coast Championship this weekend.