Melanie Heller, Staff Photographer

Following a truly dominant season which saw the squad claim both the Women’s Team Race Nationals and the Open Team Race Nationals, the No. 1 Yale sailing team will look to build upon its success this year. The team also won the Fowle Trophy at the end of last season as the best overall sailing program in the country. 

In addition to strong team results, last year’s squad also boasted a wide array of individual achievements with nine All-Americans and two more honorable mentions for the award. Beyond the depth of the squad, it also featured elite talent as Shawn Harvey ’22 was named College Sailor of the Year. After graduating, Harvey moved to the West Coast to take the assistant coach position at Stanford.

“This past year proved our team’s potential,” Helena Ware ’23, captain of the women’s team, said. “We’re looking to improve even more as we go into this year. Though we were so sad to see our senior class leave, much of our team is back for another year, and we’re so excited by our new first-year class.”

After winning 19 of its 33 regattas last fall, expectations are high for this year’s team. However, to maintain that level of performance, the Bulldogs will have to incorporate a talented but inexperienced class of nine first years.

Ware’s co-captain, Anisha Arcot ’23, explained that the team is trying to take full advantage of the preseason to help the first years get into peak racing condition, while also building up team chemistry.

“[We are] excited to be welcoming a great group of first-years that have brought new skills and great learning attitudes to the team,” Arcot said. “I know we have plenty of time and the best coaching staff to help us get there and enjoy the journey at the same time.”

While the team realizes there might be some potential early-season struggles as it adjusts to the departure of some of last year’s leaders and the addition of this year’s newcomers, head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 remains confident that the team’s culture will remain strong.

He emphasized that the team is not focused on victories so much as working to continually improve and grow as a team.

“Our goals are generally more about process, effort and culture than about the end result, so we hope to approach practice and competition as well as we did last year and we feel our results will be satisfying if we are able to do that,” Leonard said. “I think there are some strong leaders who are still with us, and I’m confident they will set a good example of how to do things.”

The Bulldogs are set to open the season this weekend, sending some sailors to Brown to compete in the Bears Invitational. Meanwhile, one other boat will stay at the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club to compete for the Harry Anderson Trophy and another will compete for Pine Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy. The women’s team will go to Toni Deutsch regatta on the Charles River. 

Last year, the team took home first-place accolades at both the Pine and the Harry Anderson and brought home the bronze at Toni Deutsch. 

Andrew Cramer is a former sports editor, women's basketball beat reporter, and WKND personal columnist at the YDN. He still writes for the WKND and Sports sections. He is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College and is majoring in Ethics, Politics & Economics.