Claire Huebner ’18 and Malcolm Lamphere ’18 were elected as captains of the Yale women’s and coed sailing teams, respectively, for the 2017 fall and spring seasons.
Despite facing harsh weather conditions this spring, both Yale sailing teams launched strong 2017 campaigns and have enjoyed successful spring seasons so far. The coed team currently sits at No. 1 on the New England Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association coaches’ poll, and the women’s team sits at No. 2 just behind Boston College. The newly elected captains have been working closely with coaches and last year’s captains to lead the Bulldogs into the season.
“As captain I want to make the team the best that it can be,” Lamphere said. “Making sure things run smoothly [and] making sure everyone’s happy as well.”
The two junior captains both boast brilliant collegiate sailing careers.
Huebner’s abilities as both skipper and crew have been reflected in her awards in the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association as well as the NEICSA. As a freshman, she won first in A Division at the ICSA Women’s National Championship. In her sophomore campaign, she was named to the women’s second-team All-NEISA Crew, and she earned first place at the President’s Trophy.
“I was really honored to be chosen by my team,” Huebner said. “I’m just hoping … to be the best leader I can be on and off the water and help the team achieve our goal as a group and individuals to achieve any personal goals that they have.”
Lamphere has been a star skipper on the coed team. In his freshman campaign, he was named a coed All-American Honorable Mention Skipper and earned first place at ICSA Team Race Nationals. As a sophomore, he was named a coed All-American Skipper and earned first-place victories at the ICSA Team Race National Championship as well as at the ICSA Singlehanded Nationals.
In addition to their skills as sailors, the two were elected by their teammates for their excellent leadership characteristics. KB Knapp ’18, a teammate who has frequently partnered with Huebner on the water, praised both Huebner and Lamphere as competent leaders who display a positive spirit and a team-player attitude.
This team-player attitude will be very important for the captains. According to Mitchell Kiss ’17, who was coed captain in the 2016 season, captains are responsible for knowing their teammates well and being supportive of them. He said he believes Huebner and Lamphere are well-equipped to manage these duties.
The sailing teams are unique in that there is a women’s team and a coed team, as opposed to women’s and men’s teams, and there is therefore overlap on the rosters, with some female sailors competing on both. According to Lamphere, that means the captains will work together with the coaches, with Huebner managing concerns specific to the women’s team and Lamphere managing those specific to the coed team.
Lamphere said he was not concerned with the overlap on the rosters, and anticipates he and Huebner making a good team and having complementary leadership styles.
“We’re pretty similar … in that we’re both easygoing, not too opinionated,” Lamphere said. “We’re open to hearing people’s thoughts and then deciding what we think is best for the team.”
This leadership compatibility is crucial: According to Natalya Doris ’17, who served as women’s captain in 2016, the two teams function as one because they practice together and leadership of the team is a group discussion among coaches and captains.
In addition to the goals of winning Team Race and Fleet Race Nationals, Lamphere looks forward to helping the team’s underclassmen develop their skills as well as expanding the roster with walk-on members. This is a particularly salient issue this year, as the team will graduate one of its largest senior classes this May.
Still, the captains and coaches have already stepped up the effort to expand the team.
“We’ve already been trying to step it up. This fall, our coach was very vigilant with making sure we were at the activities fair,” Lamphere said. “We’re the only varsity sport that goes to that activities fair, but walk-ons are just so important for us. … There are people on our team that are sailing at nationals, this year and in the past, who barely sailed at all before college.”
The Bulldogs will set sail under the leadership of their new captains again this weekend. The women’s team will compete at the Emily Wick Trophy hosted by Coast Guard Academy and the coed team will compete at the New England Team Race Championship at Tufts.