The Yale sailing team started its season with a weekend of wins at the Mendelblatt Team Race in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Bulldogs began the season ranked fifth in the nation and did not disappoint in this weekend’s team racing event in South Florida, finishing first out of five schools and winning 20 of 24 races. This weekend, the team will split up and head to three regattas in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and South Carolina. For most team members, this will be their first time sailing in the new year.
“After having not practiced for a while, we were definitely a bit rusty for the first few races, but we pulled ourselves back together as a team pretty quickly,” Chrissie Klingler ’20 said. “All of us competing last weekend practiced at USF over winter break in similar conditions, so we all felt pretty comfortable in that venue.”
The two-day event hosted by Eckerd College included five schools. The first day of the regatta began with some problems; a low tide stopped the race committee boats from going out, and the regatta was postponed 45 minutes. The boats were finally able to go out at wind speeds of 10 to 12 knots, and the boats raced three rounds. Yale won 11 of its 12 races on Saturday.
On Sunday, a varying breeze made for tricky conditions, but the wind held up for the teams to complete the three rounds for the day. In these 12 races, the Bulldogs lost twice to Jacksonville and once to Charleston. For the weekend, they had 20 total wins — grabbing them first place.
Though the team has not had any training days at home, some team members had the opportunity to travel to Florida over winter break to practice team racing before the start of the season. All seven of the sailors that raced in this past weekend’s regatta also attended this training camp.
“Our winter training definitely contributed to our success this weekend,” Anisha Arcot ’22 said. “It was great to finally put what we have been working on into practice. I am looking forward to competing against different teams this weekend.”
This weekend, the teams will race in four regattas: the Roger Williams Team Race Scrimmage, the Sharpe Trophy, the Bavier Team Race and the Women’s Regatta Team Race at Boston University.
The Sharpe Trophy is a two-day regatta hosted by Brown. Eight teams from within the NEISA conference will race a total of 56 races. Other members of Yale’s team will travel to Charleston for the Bob Bavier Team Race, where 10 teams across multiple conferences will be racing. Meanwhile, the women’s sailing team will start its season this weekend with a team race at BU.
These early-season events provide a great opportunity for many members of the team to get back on boats after spending the off-season in the gym. As they look ahead to nationals, the team is focused on improving with every day spent on the water.
“I think everyone was really excited to get the season going,” head coach Zachary Leonard said. “We just want to keep working to improve as much and as fast as possible. If we bring that approach, we are always optimistic about our potential.”
The Yale women’s and coed teams enter this weekend second and fifth, respectively, in the national rankings.
Alessa Kim-Panero | firstname.lastname@example.org