The Yale coed sailing team competed in its penultimate event at the Schell Trophy, which is the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Conference championship. After falling behind on the first day of racing, the No. 2 Bulldogs came back to claim third place and qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championship, the biggest event of the fall season.
The No. 1 Yale women’s sailing team, meanwhile, was outstanding at the Victorian Urn Trophy, winning the event by a gaping margin of 55 points. As a result of its strong performance, the Eli squad will also advance into the postseason, joining its coed counterparts at the Atlantic Coast Championship. The Bulldogs also sent some rookie sailors to the Nickerson Trophy, a first year-only regatta that serves as the first-year championship. The Yale rookies finished the weekend in eighth place out of 18 teams.
“[The coed team] had a lot of thinking to do after Saturday’s performance,” skipper Nic Baird ’19 said. “On Sunday [we stopped] taking ourselves too seriously and said ‘let’s just go have some fun.’ We did exactly that and it worked out; [it] took away the stress to perform and things started to become much clearer.”
The coed team won the Schell last year, but this season was hindered by a bad start to the event. The Bulldogs ended the first day of racing in tenth place — several points shy of getting into the top seven schools — which is the cutoff for qualifying for the Atlantic Coast Championship.
However, the Elis battled back on Sunday to secure a qualifying spot and more. They finished the day on a high with a win in the final race over MIT, which ended up winning the event overall. The Schell, which MIT hosted this year, was held on the Charles River and presented some challenging conditions, in particular on Saturday, when the Elis struggled. Though the Charles is known to be an unpredictable river to sail on, the shifts in wind that day were particularly unusual and contributed to the Elis’ early struggles.
“On Saturday, the wind was a lot trickier and less consistent,” crew Kira Woods ’19 said. “The Charles River is a notoriously tough place to sail, but Sunday’s conditions — with the wind blowing more from the left and leaving breeze lines that were more logically followed — mimicked wind that the team was more comfortable sailing in.”
At the Schell, the Bulldogs had one boat competing in the A division with Baird and crew Graceann Nicolosi ’20, who finished the weekend with 132 points. Meanwhile, skipper Nick Hernandez ’19 and skipper and captain Malcolm Lamphere ’18, with crews Sonia Lingos-Utley ’20 and Woods, competed in the B division. They earned 128 points to round out the team score at 260: just one point better than fourth-place Boston University.
Meanwhile, the women’s team faced the same challenging sailing conditions at the Victorian Urn Trophy event, which was hosted by Harvard and also took place on the Charles. On Saturday, ten of the day’s races took place in an unstable, southwesterly wind that varied from two to 13 knots across the course. Sunday presented similarly fickle conditions, with the breeze shifting from the southeast to the northeast at pressure ranging from two to eight knots.
Despite these variations, the Bulldogs managed to remain consistent throughout the weekend, with both the A and B divisions putting in impressive performances. The boat in the A division finished in second place with 69 points while in the B division, skipper Louisa Nordstrom ’20 and crew KB Knapp ’18 had their best showing of the season, winning the division by 31 points and helping to ensure the team’s dominance.
“The wind was extremely unstable,” Casey Klinger ’19 said. “One of the most important parts of the weekend was recognizing that everyone would have a bad race or two over the course of the regatta and making sure to keep a level head even when you were having a bad race. Each race was totally different, so not letting one mistake affect our mindset for the next race was key.”
Finally, at the Nickerson, Mina Cezairli ’21, Shawn Harvey ’21, Nick Marwell ’21, Becca Rose ’21, Martin Tipton ’21 and Emery Wallace ’21 competed on Tufts’s Mystic Lake. Harvey and Rose finished third in the A division, just three points behind second-place Harvard and eight points behind winner Stanford. In the B division, meanwhile, Marwell and Wallace finished eleventh.
The Bulldogs have a weekend to prepare for the Atlantic Coast Championship, which will take place in two weeks at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. In the meantime, Baird and Lamphere will travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to compete at the singlehanded nationals next weekend.
“The ACCs are in a weird venue, so we [can’t predict] how it’s going to turn out,” Baird said. “[My team] definitely took away a positive note from this weekend — that we know that we can perform when we need to — and I think that’s going to be important in the competition in two weeks.”
Last season, the coed team placed seventh at the ACC while the women’s squad took sixth place.
Masha Galay | email@example.com