On Saturday, the Yale sailors remained near the Elm City for their first contests of the fall season, racing in the Pine Trophy at Coast Guard and in the Harry Anderson Trophy at home.
While the Bulldogs posted a stellar record in the 2018–19 season, they opened this season’s Pine Trophy with rougher results, finishing Saturday in fifth place out of seven total teams. The Harry Anderson Trophy team fared somewhat better, clinching second place against 17 opposing schools and ending the weekend just 17 points behind Dartmouth.
“We were really happy with our performance,” Claudia Loiacono ’21, who sailed for the Harry Anderson Trophy with Louisa Nordstrom ’20. “We know what we need to improve on now, and so we have sort of a game plan, I think we’re in a good spot. We did well, we just have to now work on getting better.”
According to Loiacono, the winds for the weekend shifted significantly, with Saturday featuring a northwest wind that ticked west throughout the day and Sunday seeing a more stable but still shifty sea breeze.
According to skipper Dylan DiMarchi ’20, weather conditions for the Pine Trophy were also challenging, with shifty winds blowing from both directions. The Eli’s sailing time also did not make the Pine Trophy’s match race qualifier — which requires teams to make the top three in a regatta — making for a what DiMarchi called a “disappointing” weekend. Still, he added that despite the Bulldogs’ struggles, they were able to snatch first place in the last race of the Pine.
The Pine Trophy also featured J70 boats, which are larger and heavier crafts, instead of the usual Z420s or FJs, which are smaller, two-person dinghies. According to Loiacono, the J70’s larger size and subsequent need for a larger crew reduce the boat’s maneuverability. Sailors cannot be as aggressive, and more coordination between the crew is key to victory.
The Bulldogs fared better in last year’s opening races, tying for first place at the Pine Trophy and snatching first at the Harry Anderson.
This season, sailors had to adjust to the loss of several star seniors, some of whom earned All-American and All-NEISA titles during their time at Yale. Marlow Ropes College Sailor of the Year Nic Baird ’19 won awards, such as ICSA Coed All-American Skipper and First Team All-NEISA skipper, and Nick Hernandez ’19 secured wins at several key regattas. Kira Woods ’19 won First Team All NEISA Crew following last year’s Reed Trophy, while also ending her senior season as a finalist for Women’s Crew of the Year.
“Obviously, when you lose the senior class, especially one this good, it’s going to be an adjustment,” Loiacono told the News. “But that happens to all the schools. They lose their best seniors. I don’t think we’re necessarily worried, now it’s just a trial-and-error period where we’re figuring out who is going to sail with who, and who is going to sail what events.”
According to Loiacono, those logistics are mostly decided by the Bulldogs’ coaches.
Next weekend, the coed team will travel to Brunswick, Maine and Boston to compete in the Barnett Trophy and Hatch Brown Trophy, while the women’s team races for the Regis Trophy. Last year, the Bulldogs came in fourth place in the Hatch Brown while finishing the Regis in 12th.
The Bulldog sailors practice at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, located in Branford and established in 1881.
Valerie Pavilonis | email@example.com .