As the Yale sailing teams’ seasons come to a close, the Elis finished with mixed results across four competitions this past weekend in their penultimate set of regattas. The most successful performance came from the women’s team, which qualified for the LaserPerformance Women’s Nationals at MIT’s Reed Trophy.
Two coed squads faced the top teams in the country at the Admiral’s Cup at King’s Point Academy, and the Boston Dinghy Cup at MIT. Facing formidable opponents like Stanford and Dartmouth, the Bulldogs raced to a sixth-place finish at King’s Point Academy amidst high weekend winds. Meanwhile at MIT, Yale ended the weekend in 14th out of 15 teams after battling two days of temperamental gusts.
“We’re ready for [the New England Conference Championships] next weekend, no doubt,” said Nic Baird ’19, who skippered the A boat at the Admiral’s Cup. “Sailing is an inconsistent sport, but we look really strong right now. We’re still trying to determine our starting lineup, but no matter who we put on the water, I know we’ll have a shot to win next weekend.”
According to scores from collegesailing.org, winds at the Admiral’s Cup gusted from 27 to 42 knots on Saturday before calming down on Sunday. Baird said that in such windy conditions, the available strategies to avoid surrounding teams narrow, generally resulting in a win for the fastest boat. Despite the weather, Baird’s boat grabbed first place at the Admiral’s Cup, while the B boat finished in 11th place.
Baird added that the Bulldogs’ opponents this past weekend were much more formidable than the competition they will face at the upcoming New England Conference Championships, held this weekend at Bowdoin.
At the competition for the Boston Dinghy Cup, volatile winds on the Charles River in Cambridge seriously impacted sailing conditions on Saturday. According to Dylan DiMarchi ’20, the wind filtered through the skyscrapers in downtown Boston since the breeze blew from the “south or southwest.” As a result, the wind swirled unpredictably and shifted in directions by up to 50 degrees, rendering boats extremely unstable and causing capsizes.
DiMarchi added that he and teammate Catherine Webb ’22 opted for more conservative tactics, aiming to avoid other boats and focusing on speed. After Saturday’s turbulence, sailors dealt with much more consistent conditions on Sunday.
A third coed team also struggled over the weekend in its race for the Morris Trophy at Boston University and ended Sunday in 10th place out of 13 teams. While the Bulldogs fell to opponents like Harvard and MIT, they managed to outstrip Ivy foe Princeton, which ended the weekend in dead last.
The women’s team fared better overall than their coed teammates. The Bulldogs raced to fifth place out of 16 total teams in the NEISA Women’s Championship, also known as the Reed Trophy, to earn a spot at Nationals.
“The conditions we saw on Saturday at the Charles are unlike anything that you will see at any other college sailing venue,” women’s team member Louisa Nordstrom ’20 said. “So I do not think our performance was representative of our team’s skill.”
Nordstrom added that the women’s team sailed in turbo FJs, which feature a greater sail area towards the apex of the mast. As a result, the boats were more “powered up” than the team was accustomed to according to Nordstrom. High winds also plagued the Bulldogs as capsizing and turtling threatened the boats.
The women’s team concludes it season with the 2019 ICSA Spring National Championships at Sail Newport from May 21–24.
Valerie Pavilonis | email@example.com