The coed and women’s sailing teams finished second place twice and fifth place at the three respective regattas they attended this weekend along the eastern seaboard.
The No. 5 Bulldogs are getting in the swing of their spring season, which consists mostly of team races. The coed teams raced in the Bob Bavier Team Race in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Sharpe Team Race Trophy in Rhode Island. Meanwhile, the women’s team raced in the Women’s Team Race at Boston University. The two teams are ranked fifth and second in the nation, respectively.
“At such an early-season event when we are competing against mostly warm weather teams which have been training for a month or so already, we are mostly just focused on getting the rust off and getting into good habits with our strategies during racing,” captain Sonia Lingos-Utley ’21 said.
At the Sharpe Trophy — hosted by Brown — the Bulldogs raced against seven other schools within their conference, finishing fifth. On the first day of the regatta, the varying wind speeds made conditions difficult for the sailors. But their perseverance paid off, with the team winning against five of its seven competitors on Saturday.
On Sunday, the sailors faced the brutal cold and the possibility of frostbite. Even with a high of 35 degrees, the regatta completed all of its races. Though the team showed strong boat-handling skills considering their lack of practice on the water, the Bulldogs fared worse the second day, falling 5–2 to close out the weekend with a 7–7 record.
“We were able to compete at a high level right out of the gate, but our boat handling needs some work,” Benjamin Markert ’23 said. “Going back to practicing every day in preseason will help us get into good boat-handling shape. It will be nice to be able to practice team race strategy and tactics first hand, rather than just talking about scenarios.”
Other members of the team headed south to race in the Bob Bavier Team Race hosted by the College of Charleston. Out of a field of 10 schools, Yale finished second — just two wins behind the host school. Saturday’s 67 races faced a strong west wind, which caused trouble for lighter-set teams. The team’s main focus points headed into the race were starting on the line, sailing fast and avoiding fouls. Although the sailors did not have much time to practice on the water, focusing on what they could control helped them perform well against top teams.
The Bulldogs also emphasized their goal to improve over the course of the weekend, which they clearly demonstrated in Charleston. The Elis posted a 6–3 record on Saturday, but adjusted to the conditions quickly to win almost all of their races on Sunday; they narrowly lost to the host school in the final four.
“The regatta in Charleston was a great early-season event,” Chrissie Klingler ’20 said. “It was the first time Shawn [Harvey ’21], Teddy [Nicolosi ’23] and I sailed together in a regatta as a team, so we were focused on keeping up good communication and coordinating plays out on the water. We had great conditions both days, so we were able to get a ton of sailing in — two full rounds plus a final four, so 21 races total.”
The women’s team carried that same energy into its own regatta in Boston, finishing second out of six teams. Saturday saw great sailing conditions for the team, but the temperature wavered around freezing for most of the weekend. In its first race of the spring season, the women’s team was looking to get back in the swing of team racing.
The sailors said they did a good job of recognizing plays and understanding what individual boats needed to adjust in order to push the race forward. Since team racing relies on the combined finish of three of Yale’s boats, communication is critical for making sure every boat on your team can place well.
“This was the first women’s team race of the season so my two main goals were to shake the rust off and stay warm,” Megan Grimes ’23 said. “Both days were below freezing, so keeping toes and fingers alive was key. We are looking forward to improving our communication and getting more reps in at practice, as well.”
The sailors will return to St. Petersburg, Florida this weekend for the Rudkin Team Race Promotional before beginning their spring break training block.
Alessa Kim-Panero | firstname.lastname@example.org