The Yale coed and women’s sailing teams cruised to mixed results in their first weekend back on the water, with the No. 3 women’s team taking first place at home while two separate units from the No. 1 coed team nabbed fourth and seventh place finishes in warmer waters.
Women’s teams from four schools travelled to Yale for the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s Team Race regatta, where the Bulldogs won 13 of their 15 races. Meanwhile, at the Bob Bavier Team Race in Charleston, South Carolina, the coed team took fourth out of 10, with 11 wins and 13 losses, and at the Sharpe Team Race Trophy in Providence, Rhode Island, Yale placed seventh out of 10, winning three of its nine races.
“[We] all approached the weekend as a major opportunity for learning,” Claire Huebner ’18 said. “The regatta was so early in the season that most teams have had a few days of practice at most. We went into the weekend aiming to get back into the swing of general skills like boat handling and starting … It was a great event to help us start to see situations on the water during races that we had only talked about during the offseason.”
The style of the three regattas was team racing, a type of sailing in which three boats from each school compete in a series of round robins, and each boat’s finish sums to a total score, which must be 10 or below in order for a team to win.
At the NEISA regatta, Marly Isler ’16, KB Knapp ’18 and Huebner skippered the three Yale boats, while five crews rotated throughout the weekend. In 15 races across five rounds, Yale lost only twice, both times to Bowdoin. In eight of the races, Bulldogs carried first and second place, with a notable one-two-three domination of Brown in the regatta’s first round.
At the Sharpe Team Race Trophy, Nick Hernandez ’19, Eric Anderson ’16 and Casey Klingler ’18 skippered Yale to a seventh-place finish against nine other teams. Yale won its races against Harvard, Rhode Island and Bowdoin, nabbing two first-place results and a one-two-three against Rhode Island. The other six races saw a Yale boat consistently place in sixth, while the other two boats moved between third, fourth and fifth.
Conditions were challenging due to light and shifty winds, crew Amelia Dobronyi ’17 said. The group of sailors that competed had not previously raced together in a team race event, and went into the weekend with only two days of practice in the spring season, she added.
In the Bob Bavier team race, Ian Barrows ’17, Mitchell Kiss ’17, Malcolm Lamphere ’18 and Nic Baird ’19 rotated skippering throughout the regatta, where they placed fourth out of 10. During the first round, the Bulldogs won six of their nine matchups, placing first and second in all but one race. Yale faltered in the second round, winning four races — in which they consistently placed first and second — but losing five. The Elis lost every race in the third round, including an incomplete race against Stanford. Though Yale came back to nab two first-place finishes in its final round, fifth- and sixth-place finishes lost the Bulldogs two of the three races.
“Everyone has a really steep learning curve when they start,” Baird said. “We know we are starting at least at the same level as everyone else, if not ahead of them, as far as boat handling and speed and skill, for lack of a better word. We just want to make sure that we are learning faster than everyone else; that’s the way you win nationals.”
The four skippers switched out every two races, making the chemistry for the regatta difficult, Baird said. Furthermore, because only three crews were in attendance, each crew competed during every race, which Baird said was tiring.
Though the goal in this regatta was to continue learning rather than win, the fact that last year’s team won this regatta though they had not sailed prior to the weekend set up an expectation that was not met, he added.
“All of the regattas in the spring except for qualifiers and nationals are the same. They are all for learning, we don’t care if we win them or not,” Baird said. “We only want to win nationals, and the rest of it doesn’t matter.”
The Yale coed team transition to fleet racing at the Ice Breaker Regatta next weekend, while the women’s team will sail in Annapolis, Maryland at the Navy Spring Intersectional.