Courtesy of Yale Athletics

In their first weekend of competitions this year, Yale sailing took first place at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy-hosted Pine Trophy and placed first and fifth at Harry Anderson at their home course in Branford, CT. The Bulldogs also finished third at the Toni Deutsch women’s regatta hosted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although almost half of the team’s roster this season are rookies, head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 had confidence in the older teammates to teach the younger sailors the ropes.

“We have great captains and senior leaders who have been a part of our team for several years and will be good mentors for our newer team members,” said Leonard.

Teamwork between first years and upperclassmen certainly paid off as the sailors won two trophies their first weekend back. 

Yale took home top prizes at the nail-biting Pine Trophy in New London, CT. From the third race in the set, Coast Guard took a commanding lead over the pack with Yale and Boston College vying for second place in the standings. After the final race, Yale and Coast Guard were tied with 44 points each. The winner was determined in a head-to-head tiebreaker. Since Yale’s sailors beat the hosts in the majority of the races — eight of the 13 — the Elis eeked out the victory. In 2019, Yale placed fifth at the Pine.

For Jack Egan ’25, who skippered the team at the Pine, excitement outweighed any jitters ahead of his first collegiate regatta.

“It had been almost two years since I had competed in scholastic competition, so I was eager to get out there,” Egan wrote in an email to the News.

At the Harry Anderson Trophy on home waters, the sailors paid tribute to all those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 attacks, which included former Yale sailing captain Chris Murphy ’88.

With Shawn Harvey ’22, captain Sonia Lingos-Utley ’22 and Ben Markert ’23 in the A fleet and Teddy Nicolosi ’24 and Anisha Arcot ’23 in the B fleet, Yale’s first boat led the competition for the majority of the weekend. Together, the squad finished with the fastest time in 11 of the competition’s 28 total races, ultimately finishing in first place overall, an improvement from 2019’s second place finish. At the conclusion of the regatta, Yale’s second boat placed fifth behind Brown, Harvard and Roger Williams.

“There was great wind both days,” skipper Carmen Cowles ’25, who raced in the Anderson, told Yale Athletics. “[There were] consistent south-westerlies with nice chop for surfing downwind. It was a lot of fun to get back on the racecourse and have a little bit of normalcy after such a weird year for many of us.”

Rounding out the weekend, the Elis traveled to the Charles River to compete at the Toni Deutsch Regatta. After appearing as low as 11th in the standings, the Bulldogs held their own and placed third behind host MIT and Brown. The last time Yale made an appearance at this regatta was in 2018 where the Blue and White finished 12th out of 13 boats. 

This weekend, the Bulldogs will compete at five tournaments: the Mens’ New England Singlehanded Championship, the Barnett Trophy, the Womens’ Regis Trophy, the Hatch Brown Trophy and a Tufts Invite. In 2019, Yale won Barnett and Hatch Brown.

Because of the Bulldogs’ victory at the Pine, Yale qualified for the Match Race New Englands later this season.

Melanie Heller currently serves as the Sports Editor for the Yale Daily News. She previously reported on women's hockey. Originally from Potomac, MD, she is a junior in Silliman College double majoring in Economics and Humanities.