For the first time in six years, the Yale women’s sailing team won the Atlantic Coast Championships last weekend, concluding the fall season with an exclamation point.
Over the course of two weekend-long events, both Yale sailing teams battled harsh weather conditions at the last and most competitive event of the season. The No. 4 coed team, which had posted mixed results thus far, raced to a fifth-place finish at the regatta hosted by SUNY-Maritime College. The No. 1 women’s team nabbed the title at the Women’s Championship, hosted by Connecticut College, besting second-place Boston College by three points.
“ACCs is the biggest regatta of the fall and has almost all of the teams that will be at nationals [in June], except for the West Coast ones such as Stanford, so winning it definitely makes us optimistic going into the spring season and nationals,” Chrissie Klingler ’20 said. “Many teams will improve and I’m sure racing at nationals will be tight, but this is definitely a good sign for us as we go back to defend the title.”
On the women’s side, the competition saw the top 18 teams from the conferences on the Atlantic Coast. The event began on Saturday with challenging conditions, as a slightly skewed current and light winds created a difficult course to navigate in the frigid weather. Each of the two divisions saw the teams race eight times, with just one fleet of boats for both divisions. This made each race more significant than in an 18-race regatta, where there are more races and therefore a greater number of opportunities to bounce back from a surprising result.
Consistency and depth across the two divisions determined the outcome for the Eli women, who jumped out to an early lead and never dipped below second in the running tabulations. Skipper Casey Klingler ’18 and crew Claudia Loiacono ’21 sailed in the A-division boat for the Bulldogs, while skipper Louisa Nordstrom ’20 and crew KB Knapp ’18 sailed in the B division. Saturday saw Nordstrom and Knapp deliver steady results in particular, as the duo placed in the top two in all five races they sailed.
On Sunday, the teams faced breezy conditions similar to the day before, and the regatta’s final three races were briefly delayed due to the wind. Klingler and Loiacono successfully navigated the changing conditions to extend the lead over Boston College’s A-division boat to 13 points and give Nordstrom and Knapp a five-point buffer heading into their final pair of races, where they finished third and first respectively, to lock down the win for Yale.
The two pairings of Klingler and Loiacono and Nordstrom and Knapp each finished second in their divisions, with 45 and 24 points respectively, but the combined total proved enough for the overall success. The A boat was nine points off the leaders from the Coast Guard Academy, while the B pairing finished four points behind BC.
The coed team competed against 17 top-ranked teams in their regatta. Both the A and B divisions saw 10 races. The weather conditions on the East River were also difficult both Saturday and Sunday, with a harsh current and inconsistent and weak winds, causing delays throughout the event.
Skipper Nic Baird ’19 and crew Graceann Nicolosi ’20 sailed in the A-division boat for the Bulldogs. In the B division, captain Malcolm Lamphere ’18 and Shawn Harvey ’21 split time as skippers, sailing with crew Sonia Lingos-Utley ’21.
Baird and Nicolosi finished seventh in the A division, while the B boat raced to a fifth-place finish. Harvey, Lamphere and Lingos-Utley got off to a rough start on Saturday, finishing 13th, 14th and 14th in three of the six races, before turning the tide for the remainder of the races.
“B really struggled on Saturday, but thankfully, we pulled it together later,” Lamphere said.
On Sunday, the B boat delivered much better results, finishing first in the 9th race.
Overall, the team finished in fifth place at the regatta, an improvement on last year’s seventh-place finish. The Elis were just five points away from Boston University at second place and 14 from Dartmouth at first.
“They did a solid job,” head coach Zachary Leonard said. “We were close to the lead at the end of the event. There is still a lot we can improve upon, but I’m happy with where we are at this point.”
With the final fall race under their belts, the Yale sailing teams will now turn to weight training and meetings to discuss team racing, the style they will compete in come spring after fleet racing in the fall.
Sailing will kick off the spring season with a trip to Florida in March.
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