With only a few weeks remaining before the New England Team Race Championship, the Yale sailing teams return from break primed for a top showing after increasingly impressive performances in their regattas.
The women’s team comes back to campus toting a fourth-place result in the St. Mary’s Women’s Interconference Regatta and first-place finish in the Joseph R Duplin Women’s Team race. The coed team opened vacation with a seventh-placed finish in the Rudkin Team Race at Eckerd College before rising to third place in a big Graham Hall field at the Naval Academy. Rounding out break, the Bulldogs claimed first place at the Friis Team Race in a fitting payoff for a few weeks of difficult intrasquad training and practice with alumni.
“Spring break was great for us, [and] the most efficient break I’ve had so far at Yale in terms of learning,” Nic Baird ’19 said. “We had more learning to do this year as a team than in other years, but I think we’re on track the same as we have been in the past, and we’re close to being ready for the qualifiers.”
The Rudkin Team Race was an opportunity for the team to divide and conquer. While much of the squad went to Florida to train and race with a group of alumni, skippers Casey Klingler ’18, Christine Klingler ’20 and Louisa Nordstrom ’20, as well as crew Claudia Loiacono ’21, Catherine Mollerus ’21 and Claire Huebner ’18 visited the Tritons to hone their competitive sharpness on the water.
The breeze largely cooperated, and while the first day came to an early close when the wind died, the second day featured a solid breeze. But despite that, after two round robins, Yale ended the weekend in seventh place out of eight teams.
“We sent an all women’s team to the Rudkin, a coed regatta, to prepare for several other women’s team race events this spring,” Casey Klingler said. “We hadn’t raced much together as a group, so we had get used to each other’s racing styles and figure out the best way to communicate on the water.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the team had the opportunity to test its mettle against an excellent set of alumni, including two former college sailors of the year and two more All-Americans, who put the Elis through their paces.
The second competition over break was the Graham Hall Team Race in which Yale finished third, just one and two races behind Roger Williams and Hobart and William Smith, respectively. Facing an unstable wind on day one, the Bulldogs struggled at the start. While the Elis are blessed with depth and rotated between four skippers — Baird, Malcolm Lamphere ’18, Nick Hernandez ’19 and Shawn Harvey ’21 — the constant variability in boat composition hurt the team’s chemistry at times. However, on the second day, Yale barely missed a beat, dropping only one race.
The culmination of Yale’s improvement arrived in the Friis Team meet at Roger Williams. The Hawks soared to victory in Rudkin and Graham Hall, but the Elis ended this monopoly in the birds’ nest itself with a dominant 12–2 record that edged out Roger Williams’ 11–3 mark. With conditions running the gamut between light to no wind and consistent mid-teens breezes, the Bulldogs demonstrated their skill as they took on even the occasional snow shower over the course of the regatta.
With Yale using six crew to tame the waters, victory in the Friis Team Race was the result of a concerted team effort and an example of the hard work the team put into training the previous week.
The women’s team had two races of its own over break: the St. Mary’s Women’s Interconference Regatta and Joseph R Duplin Women’s Team Race. In the former, the Elis finished third in the A-fleet and fourth in the B-fleet to finish fourth place overall behind Boston College, College of Charleston and Brown. While the U.S. Coast Guard Academy starred and finished first in the A-fleet, its eighth-place result in the B-fleet consigned it to fifth place overall, some 20 points behind the Bulldogs.
Shifting to team racing in the Joseph R Duplin, the Klingler sisters and Nordstrom navigated shifting wind conditions to take the victory. On the second day of racing, wind speeds hit 10-18 knots, leading to a number of capsizes during big gusts. While Dartmouth ended the day with a number of good performances, in the end, Yale beat hosts Tufts University and Dartmouth on tiebreakers to secure the win after going 9–4.
“Spring training was extremely productive for the team,” Nordstrom said. “We’ve all made a lot of progress learning and brushing up on team-race concepts in addition to improved boat handling. Definitely much better prepared for the upcoming qualifiers, but we’ve still got some time left and hope to use it wisely.”
Now the Elis turn their gaze to the Marchiado Team Race at MIT, the Camel Team Race at Connecticut College, the BU Trophy at Boston University and the women’s race Dellenbaugh Trophy at Brown.
Caleb Rhodes | email@example.com