The co-ed sailing team ended its season June 8 with a third place finish in the ICSA Dinghy National Championships, its best result in three years.
Skipper Joseph Morris ’12 and crew Isabel Elliman ’12 led the A division for the final time in their collegiate careers. In B division, skipper Graham Landy ’15 and crew Heather May ’13 excelled, winning the Robert Allan Jr. Trophy for their top finish. Throughout the 13 races, they only finished outside the top five three times.
After the tournament, Morris and Landy were named All-Americans, matching the two sailors named from Georgetown, Stanford and College of Charleston.
With 171 points over three days, the Bulldogs took home the third-place Metropolitan Sailing League Trophy. While Georgetown dominated the field with just 137 points, Roger Williams only led Yale by two in the end. The Elis bested three Ivy league teams in the 18-school regatta: Harvard took fifth, Dartmouth placed 14th and Brown finished 15th.
At last year’s championships, the Bulldogs placed eighth.
The No. 4 Yale women’s team finished second at the New England Championship this weekend and qualified for the Nationals Championships to be held from May 31 to June 2 in Austin, Texas.
The Elis finished their season on a high note at the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s Championship. The first two teams of the 17 teams competing automatically qualify for championships. The Bulldogs attained a score of 157, behind host Boston College’s 97. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. Yale’s No. 1 coed team heads to the National Semifinal Championships at the Naval Academy on May 12 to 13
“We did pretty well overall and a great job at the Thompson,” sailing head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 said. “Our teams have made a lot of improvements in a lot of ways since the start of the season.”
The New England Championship, called the Reed Trophy, consisted of 17 fleet races in the A and B divisions. In each fleet race, one Yale boat competed against one boat from each of the other 16 teams at the regatta.
With eight sailors participating, the team rotated sailors on the boats in both divisions during the race. Women’s captain Emily Billing ’13 said this allowed the team to utilize the particular strengths of each sailor for the variety of conditions they faced. The sailors encountered shifty five knot winds early on Saturday, 20-knot puffs later on and 8 to 12-knot winds on Sunday.
Skipper Marlena Fauer ’14, who sailed in the A division, said, their success was driven by the team effort afforded by this rotation, allowing the sailors to minimize their physical and mental fatigue during the regatta and to motivate one another. Yale earned a comfortable 44-point lead on Brown University.
Billing, who sailed for part of the B division races, attributed Boston College’s 60-point margin for first place to the team’s home water advantage.
A second place finish automatically qualifies the Bulldogs alongside eight other teams for the national championships, while the sailing teams that placed third through seventh last weekend will have to race at a semifinal regatta on May 30. The top nine teams from this regatta will also qualify for the championships.
The coed team won the two-division Thompson Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Although the Elis came fourth in the A division, they were able to hold a 20-point lead in the B division to earn first place overall by 18 points. At the Admiral’s Cup at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the Bulldogs fell to eleventh, but Leonard said many of the sailors learned a great deal from their mistakes at the event.
“Sometimes even when the result doesn’t look great on paper, it really helps them in the long run,” Leonard said.
The women’s team will practice more intensively in New Haven as they head into the postseason, working out three times a week and practicing daily on the water at the McNay Family Sailing Center for over two weeks before flying to nationals in Texas. Next weekend, the coed team will sail at the New England Team Race Championships hosted by MIT and the George Morris Trophy at Boston University, both along the Charles River.
Though the Bulldogs faced disappointing results in several fleet race regattas this weekend, the No. 1 Yale coed sailing team qualified for the National Semifinal Championships with a third-place finish at the New England Dinghy Championships at Harvard.
The coed team competed in a total of three regattas last weekend. It captured third place out of the 18 teams participating in the qualifiers hosted by the Crimson on the Charles River. Harvard took first place with a score of 231. Also on the Charles, the Elis placed seventh out of 18 teams at the Oberg Trophy, won by Boston College and hosted by Northeastern University. The Elis placed fifth out of nine teams at the Southern Series Short Beach Invitational on home waters in Branford, won by Brown University.
The No. 3 women’s team faced a disappointing tenth place finish out of 17 teams at the Emily Wick Trophy hosted by the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., lagging at 312 points to Boston College’s 190.
“The [New England Dinghy Championships] was a battle the whole way through,” assistant sailing coach William Healy said. “We were just a little off the pace. Since it was getting close to finals, people were probably not as focused as they should have been, but we were still in it to win.”
The New England Dinghy Championships consisted of 18 fleet races each in the A and B divisions, where one boat from each school raced against boats in that division from each of the other schools. The eight schools with the lowest score, tabulated by adding the places of all its races in both divisions, will continue on to the National Semifinal Championships at the Naval Academy on May 12 to 13.
Skipper Joe Morris ’12 and crews Isabel Elliman ’12 and Heather May ’13 finished eighth in the A division, 31 points behind Harvard in first, while coed sailing team captain and skipper Cam Cullman ’13 and crew Genoa Warner ’12 finished third in B division, four points behind Boston University in the lead.
“I think I didn’t start as well as I normally do and … took too much risk,” Morris said. “But we’ve done well in these conditions before. I think this just wasn’t our weekend.”
Morris said that although a conservative approach might have provided greater consistency, the shifty sailing conditions demanded different strategies than the conditions that the team faces at other venues. At Nationals, he said the strategies he used this weekend may be more effective.
Cullman said he was happy that the team fulfilled its primary goal of qualifying for the semifinals, adding that the team was “always within striking distance of first place.” He said that the team came out knowing what it needed to work on.
The top eight teams at the New England Dinghy Championships qualified for the National Semifinal Championships. Roger Williams University finished second, with Dartmouth, Boston College, Boston University, Tufts and Brown rounding out the top eight.
The Bulldogs also tackled the Charles’ unpredictable winds at the Oberg Trophy. Crew Sarah Smith ’15, who finished seventh in the B division with skipper Robert Struckett ’12, said the Charles tested the pair’s ability to adapt their boat handling technique with the shifting winds, which ranged between two and ten knots. Skipper Max Nickbarg ’14, who finished eighth in the A division with crew Anna Han ’14, said the result was disappointing, though it has taught him the importance of making “quick, decisive decisions” when handling the rapidly changing winds.
“I was sailing against some of my friends and rivals whom I am generally right next to in races, but this weekend I couldn’t consistently stay in the top of the fleet with them,” Nickbarg added.
Falling from its first place finish last week, the women’s team finished tenth at the Emily Wick Trophy — its only finish out of the top five in any regatta this season. Healy said that when the teams meet for their afternoon practice today, they will evaluate how to improve the women’s team’s performance for the Women’s New England Championship next week, which will serve as the qualifiers for the women’s Nationals.
Next weekend, the coed team will compete at the Admiral’s Cup at Kings Point, the Priddy Trophy at the University of New Hampshire and the Thompson Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy.
Once exams finish, Healy said the team will intensify its training, with conditioning in the morning in addition to regular afternoon practices on the water and meetings to discuss strategy.
In its 19 regattas so far this season, the Bulldogs have a finish percentile of 76.5.
Last weekend, the No. 1 coed sailing team handily won the Ivy title, with positive results for the coed and women’s teams elsewhere as well.
The coed team dominated the Owen, Mosbacher and Knapp trophies, the de facto Ivy League sailing championship, which it hosted from the McNay Family Sailing Center in Branford. Additionally, the Elis captured the Boston Dinghy Cup at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a third-place finish at the Southern Series One at Salve Regina in Newport, R.I., The No. 2 women’s team finished third at the Duplin Trophy Team Race Regatta at Tufts University.
“We’ve definitely improved, and we can improve even more,” sailing head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 said. “We’ve been [able to spot] bad situations before they arise.”
The Ivy regatta had 12 fleet races for each division. In a fleet race, 20 boats, each representing a different school, compete for first place.
Crew Isabel Elliman ’12, who won the A division in the Ivies with skipper Joe Morris ’12 by a 19-point lead, said sailing in home waters gave the coed team an edge. Elliman added that the team was able to adjust quickly to the range of different sailing conditions that confronted the team.
The Bulldogs faced gusts peaking at 15 knots on Saturday and fluctuating winds on Sunday of less than 10 knots. Skipper Marlena Fauer ’14 said the patchy Sunday breezes made boat positioning tricky since the wind pressure was not always visible.
Fauer, who won the B division by six points with Eugenia Greig ’14, said the team’s consistency in every race was the key for its victory.
“We didn’t go out to win every race right from the beginning, but rather put ourselves in a position in the top five with opportunities to pass boats,” Fauer said. “Joe [Morris] and I [also] did a good job of communicating between the A and B division sets and relaying important information about the breeze and the course.”
Crew Genoa Warner ’12, who competed for the Boston Dinghy Cup in the A division, also attributed the victory to the team’s consistency and readiness to adapt to the shifting waters and sailing conditions. She added that the Charles River, where the regatta was held, often has unpredictable conditions, although it did not prove to be as tricky this weekend.
Warner added that the team sailed in unfamiliar boats usually used in England called “Fireflies,” adding another level of complexity to its racing.
The women’s team competed in a team racing format at the Duplin Trophy Team Race Regatta. In a team racing format, three boats from one school compete collectively against three boats from another, and the result of that race is determined by the sum of their places.
Crew Amanda Salvesen ’14 said she was pleased with the third place result, adding that they conquered the undefeated Boston College.
“I think we consistently improved over the weekend, and in our final race, our work really came together and we began to work as a team,” Salvesen said.
Skipper and captain Emily Billing ’13 said that only one of the six team members who participated in the event had had experience in team racing prior to the regatta, adding that the sailors thought of the race as a learning experience.
While the coed team will practice team racing in preparation for the Southern New England Team Race Intersectional at Connecticut College next weekend, the women’s team will focus more on fleet racing for the Brad Dellenbaugh tournament in Providence, R.I., also next weekend.
After a busy start to the fall season, this weekend the No. 3 coed sailing team proved that quality is more important than quantity. Despite sailing in only two regattas, the team still managed to make its mark, something the No. 1 women’s team was unable to do as too much wind blew out its regatta.
The coeds emerged victorious in the Navy Fall Intersectional, one of the most important regattas of the year, and finished a respectable fifth at the Captain Hurst Bowl in New Hampshire.
With 18 teams in attendance from all across the country sailing in four divisions, the Navy Fall Intersectional in Annapolis, Md. is the biggest regatta of the season both in size and arguably in prestige. The regatta’s importance prompted the Bulldogs to bring a large and versatile squad so that they could adapt to any conceivable change in the wind.
The coeds finished in the top three in three of the four divisions of the regatta. In A division, skipper and captain Joe Morris ’12 teamed up with crews Isabel Elliman ’12, William Feldman ’14, and Heather May ‘13 to achieve third place. Morris’ boat finished in the top 10 in 15 out of the 18 races in the division.
This intersectional was unusual, as two of the four divisions, C and D, were sailed in Lasers and Laser Radials, respectively. As a result, Cam Cullman ’13 and Claire Dennis ’13, two of the best Laser sailors in the country, were particularly able to give the Bulldogs a boost in the regatta.
In C division, Cullman finished 11 points over his closest competitor. His dominance included 14 top-10finishes and six victories. Cullman’s success came just a week after he qualified in first place for the National Championships in Lasers. For those efforts, Cullman was named New England Intercollegiate Sailing AssociationCoed Sailor of the Week.
In D division, Dennis narrowly placed second, finishing just five points behind the victor. Since the one-person Laser Radials in D division were sailed both by men and women, Dennis’ finish was a real testament to her skills.
Morris stressed that the victory at the Navy Fall Intersectional came down to team effort, but he also emphasized the impact of Cullman and Dennis.
“I think the result speaks to the depth of our team,” Morris said. “Both Cam and Claire held us together in the laser fleet.”
The coed team participated in one other regatta this weekend, the Captain Hurst Bowl in Hanover, N.H., in which the traveling squad secured a fifth-place finish out of 22 teams. Although many of the coed team’s most experienced sailors were occupied at the Navy Fall Intersectional, the youthful team of Bulldogs in Hanover impressively took care of business against stiff competition. In A division, skipper Graham Landy ’15 and crews Katherine Gaumond ’15 and Madeline Yozwiak ’14 finished fourth. Landy and Gaumond both said they felt that they improved as the regatta progressed.
“The conditions were challenging,” Landy said. “It took some time to get used to. At first I was inconsistent, but as we sailed more on the lake we recognized what we needed to work on and were able to improve.”
“I think we work together well,” Gaumond agreed. “We got a lot better at making good decisions when we were behind and being more conservative.”
Wind prohibited the women’s team from hosting the Yale Women’s Intersectional on home turf in Branford, Conn. On both Saturday and Sunday, head sailing coach Zachary Leonard ’89 sent skipper Marlena Fauer ’14 and crew Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 out to test the waters. Both days, the water was too rough to sail.
“It was really windy,” Fauer said. “When we got around the point where the racecourse would be set, we basically couldn’t make any upwind progress because the waves were so big.”
Next weekend, weather permitting, the coed team will send squads to four regattas in the Northeast hosted by Brown, MIT, Boston College and Roger Williams. The women’s team will travel to Connecticut College for the Stu Nelson Trophy.
On a mid-September Tuesday, it was pouring in Branford, Conn. The coed and women’s sailing teams were about to start practice, and everyone was already drenched. Many members of the team had chosen to wear waterproof layers out on the water. Max Nickbarg ’14, however, chose to go shirtless under his life jacket.
“We’ll be wearing dry suits too soon,” he said.
Yale’s youngest varsity teams practice in fall rainstorms and on frigid spring days, and have become forces in the sailing world: In 2009, they won the Fowle Trophy as the top team in collegiate sailing and, in 2011, they boasted six All-Americans on their roster. Both the coed and women’s teams are currently ranked No. 1 in the country.
“We were a young team last year, but we learned a lot,” Cam Cullman ’13 said. “Now the targets are on our backs and the pressure is on. We accept that and we’re going to try to make the most of it.”
Despite that success, team members said that they compete in relative obscurity. Their boathouse is a 15-minute drive from campus, and their competitions — which are often held far from shore — are by nature not suited for spectating. Moreover, home competitions are few and far between — the coed and women’s teams each have one regatta in Branford this year.
Instead of competing at home, the Elis travel all over New England and beyond. In every weekend of September, the coed sailing team participated in at least three regattas. Last weekend, it raced in four across three different states. Meanwhile, the women’s team traveled to Boston for a regatta of its own.
The two teams race in as many as eight events on any given weekend, and travel not only to every New England state but also occasionally to California, Maryland, Florida and Illinois for events.
YALE’S YOUNGEST TEAM
Yale’s Corinthian Yacht Club, which was founded in 1881, is the oldest collegiate sailing club in the world. And yet the Eli varsity team is less than a decade old. When head coach Zachary Leonard ’89 was earning All-American status as a skipper at Yale, he was doing so for the club team.
The old club team took the sport seriously, Leonard said, adding that it would drive to Louisiana every year for a Mardi Gras regatta. But most other college teams also operated at the club level then. As competitors were promoted to varsity, they began to enjoy a recruiting edge. So, funded by an alumni gift in 2002, the team made the move to varsity.
Despite that transition, Yale’s sailors sometimes operate in a world that seems separate from most varsity teams. Because they have only two coaches but travel to so many regattas each weekend, the team must either hire recent alumni to accompany athletes to events, or send athletes off on their own, Leonard said. The members of the team drive rental cars to various New England locations.
The athletes are also responsible for some work around the boathouse. When the team expects storms, the Elis must move their two 4,000-pound docks from the water onto dry land, skipper Chris Segerblom ’14 said, adding that they do so by placing a row of PVC pipes underneath the docks and rolling them steadily up hill.
The team is also unique for its reliance on walk-ons. The program sponsors introductory sailing courses for students every fall, and many of the students who begin with those courses are contributing to the program by the end of their Yale careers, said women’s captain Margot Benedict ’12, who was one of those walk-ons.
A Vermont State Alpine Ski champion in high school, Benedict began sailing her freshman year, and was traveling to nationals with the team by the time she was a sophomore. Last Sunday, she and skipper Morgan Kiss ’15 paced the women’s team to a fourth-place finish out of 16 teams at a regatta in Boston.
But sailing is an incredibly complex sport, Leonard said, and success stories like Benedict’s are not common.
Most collegiate sailing is done in two-person boats, manned by a crew and a skipper, Leonard said. The skipper steers the boat, while the crew is responsible for the sails. Although the two have separate responsibilities, communication between them is essential, sailors said. Boats travel slowly and must make the most of even the slightest winds, and so every shift in weight or positioning a sailor makes can transform a race.
During practice, the team discusses bigger questions of race strategy and right-of-way. But because small details are so important, the team’s coaches also focus on checking that the sailors have their sails well adjusted and have positioned themselves at the correct part of the boat.
That positioning depends on the weight of the crew and on the condition of the winds, members of the team said. The ideal combined weight for the sailors in a boat is 280 to 290 pounds, but changes depending on the condition of the winds, men’s captain Joseph Morris ’12 said. In light winds, a team should be as light as possible, but up to 330 pounds in heavier winds. And even if a pair combines for that ideal weight, it must still position itself correctly in the boat to use that weight to its advantage.
Shifting weight is particularly important when a crew tacks and jibes — nautical terms for quickly shifting direction. Race courses are designed with upwind legs and a downwind legs. When sailing against the wind, teams must race in a zigzag pattern in order to use as much of the wind as possible. Then, on the way back with the wind at their backs, sailors must ride the waves — a technique similar to surfing that Morris called one of the most difficult in the sport.
Determining the best pattern through the course requires the judgment of the skipper, Cullman said, a skipper himself. Even when the best path through the course seems simple, the disadvantage of racing alongside many of the other boats in the regatta sometimes means that a skipper must chart a different path.
Moreover, the wind is rarely constant throughout a race. Its direction and power can always shift, and so a skipper must be prepared quickly to change his strategy.
But one difficult wind shift will not will not sink a team’s chances in a regatta. Each regatta has dozens of races — wind permitting — so consistency throughout the weekend is the most crucial part of success.
To maintain balance throughout the races, universities will rotate among different boats to ensure that minor differences among the vessels do not influence the competition. Still, sailing is unpredictable, and even first-place teams can find themselves at the back of the pack. At Yale’s Harry Anderson Trophy in early September, Segerblom and Benedict finished last overall in one race but still finished first in their division.
“If you can get the wind right 60 percent of the time, you’re doing great,” Segerblom said.
Sometimes, wind not only shifts but dies out completely. If calm conditions persist, even the most important races sometimes have to be cancelled — including the women’s national semifinals two years ago.
The Elis, if they can maintain their high rankings in the national polls, will hope that this year’s championships are not cancelled so that they can try to recapture the Fowle Trophy.
Yale will continue its season with another busy weekend on Saturday that includes regattas at Coast Guard, Connecticut College, Tufts and MIT for the coed team, as well as a home regatta for the women.
The No. 8 coed sailing team fought consistent breezes surpassing 20 knots at the New England Dinghy Championship last weekend to qualify for a spot in the National Semifinal in Long Beach, Calif.
The Bulldogs took seventh place in an event the regatta’s report described as “epic.” Another group of sailors from the coed team grabbed sixth at the Oberg Trophy. The No. 3 women’s team took fourth place at the Wick/Shrew Intersectional.
The seven members of the coed team, who traveled to Rhode Island for the New England Dinghy Championship, needed a top-eight finish in the regatta in order to advance to the National Semifinals. Because of powerful breezes, heavy air crew Rafael Fernandez ’13 and skipper Joseph Morris ’12 competed in the A division. As the winds whipped at over 20 knots of constant breeze, Morris and Fernandez jumped off to a strong start. The tqo finished in the top 10 in each of their first six races.
The combination of skippers Chris Segerblom ’14 and Cam Cullman ’13 and crews Segerblom, Heather May ’13 and Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 participated in the B division for the Elis. They delivered on Saturday with six top-10s in the eight races.
“The extra wind made it more fun in some regards and also a little wilder and crazier than usual,” Segerblom said. “There was some serious carnage at times throughout the fleet, and at times it was more of a survival mode. You could end up finishing well in the race as long as you kept your boat upright while other people were capsizing.”
Sunday brought 20-25 knot winds and fierce conditions. The A division boat of Morris and Fernandez took three top-tens in Sunday’s racing with a high finish of sixth. The B division boat finished fifth, 12th and sixth in its first three races on Sunday.
In what turned out to be the day’s final race, the breeze jumped up to well over 30 knots. Segerblom and Custo Greig were initially able to handle the conditions, but a puff of wind capsized the boat midway through the event. The two were able to flip the boat and continue, but it was not long before they capsized for a second time.
“We capsized again, and while we were capsized, the swell was also exceptionally big, and a pretty steep wave came and lifted our boat up about four feet,” Segerblom said. “As it came back down, the mast stuck into the seafloor and into the mud. When the weight of the boat came back down on top of the mast, it just snapped clean in half.”
Segerblom and Custo Greig were ultimately unable to finish the race and received a Did Not Finish. The team tried filing for redress, but race officials dismissed their case due to improper handling of the boat. Despite the DNF, the boat managed a 10th place finish overall.
The A division boat of Morris and Fernandez took eighth. Their combined scores gave the Bulldogs 212 points, good for seventh place and a spot in the National Semifinals in Long Beach, Calif.
Another set of sailors from the coed team made the trek to the Charles River for the Oberg Trophy. Like their teammates in Rhode Island, they had to deal with winds over 20 knots. Skipper Rob Struckett ’12 and crew Isabel Elliman ’12 got off to a slow start on Saturday in the A division, but finished strong with two top-fives in the day’s final three races. On Sunday, Struckett and Elliman battled through more strong winds to earn four top-fives in their five races. In the B division, skipper Max Nickbarg ’14 and crew Margot Benedict ’12 finished in the top-five in 11 of the 13 races despite never before sailing together in a regatta.
“It was really interesting because I don’t think I’ve ever had a regatta that went so consistently on the Charles River because it’s just so crazy,” Benedict said. “I think Max’s personality works really well with the Charles because he’s pretty relaxed and was just able to go with the bad and the good which you have to do on the Charles.”
A sixth-place finish in the A division and third-place in the B division gave the Elis sixth place overall at the regatta.
Sailors from the women’s team competed at the Wick/Shrew Intersectional at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. In the A division, skipper Claire Dennis ’13 and crew Anna Han ’14 finished 11th in two of their first three races before heating up to grab five top-fives and two wins in Saturday’s final five races. Emily Billing ’13 and Custo Greig sailed to six top-nines in Saturday’s six B division races.
“We just tried to be really conservative and not to make really risky moves,” Billing said. “Being conservative allowed us to have pretty consistent scores. We didn’t really win any races, but we also tried to stay out of the back of the fleet.”
On Sunday, Dennis and Han continued the consistency with no finish lower than nine and a third-place overall finish. Billing and new crew Amanda Salvesen ’14 took eight top-fives in the day’s 10 races to finish third in the B division. The combined results gave the Elis fourth overall, three points shy of third-place Stanford.
Next weekend, the coed team will compete at the Thompson Trophy in New London, Conn. and at the O’Toole Trophy in Newport, R.I. The women’s team will sail at the 45th Women’s New England Championships Reed Trophy.
Correction: April 20, 2011
An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Claire Dennis ’13, the skipper in the women’s regatta, as Heather May ’13.
Yale sailors caught some good breaks and made a few bad mistakes on several New England waterways in various competition formats this weekend.
The No. 6 women’s sailing team finished third at the Regis Bowl on the Charles River, while the No. 6 coed team finished third at the Tufts-hosted Hood Trophy, a fifth at the White Trophy, eighth at the Chris Loder Trophy and 15th at the St. Mary’s Fall Intersectional.
The women’s team headed north to compete in the Regis Bowl hosted by Boston University. A division sailors Genoa Warner ’12 and Stephanie Schuyler ’12 won the final individual race to cap off a sixth place A division finish overall. Marlena Fauer ’14 and Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 dominated with five individual race victories and 12 top-fives that gave the pair an overall win in the B division.
“The first day was really shifty,” Custo Greig said. “We ended up catching a lot of [the wind shifts].”
The combined division scores put the women in third with 104 points — one point short of second-place Dartmouth.
At the Hood Trophy on Tuft’s Mystic Lake, Cameron Cullman ’12 and Blair Belling ’11 grabbed three first- and second-place race finishes, respectively, en route to a first place A division finish.
“Blair knows the boat so well, and she’s an All-American,” Cullman said. “I feel extremely fortunate that I get to sail with her right now.”
Sailors Rob Struckett ’12 and Isabel Elliman ’12 took home first place in the first and last races for a seventh place finish in the B division.
Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs seized the Harman Cup and an opportunity to compete in the New England Match Racing Championship. This event, known as the White Trophy, took place on the Thames River at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Saturday. Match racing is a new format in college sailing that pits one college against another in each event as opposed to other racing formats, which feature boats from multiple schools, said Joseph Morris ’12, who competed in the event along with Max Nickbarg ’14, Amanda Salvesen ’14 and Chris Segerblom ’14
“All three of the freshmen have experience in match racing,” Morris said of his three freshmen teammates.
The Elis worked together to win their first three races but made a critical error in their fourth against the Coast Guard Academy that reversed their momentum, Morris said.
“After that, we made big mistakes,” Morris said. “I think it was definitely a learning experience.”
The Bulldogs finished in fifth place by the end of competition Saturday, just missing out on qualification for Sunday’s four-team finals.
At the Chris Loder Trophy in New Hampshire, sailors Emily Billing ’13, Alexa Chu ’11, Tatyana Camejo ’11 and Nathan Stevens ’11 arrived Sunday to no breeze and a lot of wait time. But the wind picked up around noon, allowing for eight close races. The Bulldogs finish eighth overall.
Yale also finished ninth in the Salt Pond Invitational at the University of Rhode Island.
Next weekend, the Bulldogs coed team will send sailors to compete for the Danmark Trophy, the Smith Trophy and the Southern Series Three. The women’s team will be competing in the New England Women’s Singlehanded Championships in Vermont.
Despite young rosters, Yale co-ed and women’s sailing are off to strong starts after their second weekend of competition.
This weekend, the No. 6 co-ed team won the Lake Champlain Open at Vermont and the Boston Harbor Invitational at Boston College, while taking second in the Hatch Brown Trophy hosted by MIT on the Charles River. The women’s team, meanwhile, also took second place at the Mrs. Hurst Bowl which is hosted by Dartmouth on Lake Mascoma.
Both the women’s regatta and the Hatch Brown Trophy are intersectional top-tier races, which makes the high finishes even more important said women’s captain Blair Belling ’11.
Belling, who won the B division at Hatch Brown alongside Cameron Cullman ’13, said that she was particularly impressed by the teams’ showings given the lack of collegiate experience for many of the sailors.
“We’re a younger team, but we have a lot of potential,” she said, “So far we’ve had some great regattas.”
The regatta on the Charles River featured Amanda Salvesen ’14 alongside co-ed Captain Joseph Morris ’12 in the A division, and Chris Segerblom ’14 who skippered Elizabeth Brim ’11.
The six Yalies at MIT faced poor conditions throughout the weekend. The venue, which Belling said is known as one of the toughest in sailing because of shifty and unpredictable winds, had almost no wind this past weekend which made for tough sailing.
The Bulldogs finished the weekend in second place, earning 131 points — six points behind first-place St. Mary’s.
“[St. Mary’s is] one of our biggest competitors,” Belling said. “We race them a lot.”
The women’s team at the Mrs. Hurst Bowl faired equally well.
Despite being relatively inexperienced on lakes, the Bulldogs defeated No. 2 Brown to take second place behind No. 10 Connecticut College. Claire Dennis ’13 and Heather May ’13 finished fifth in the A division, while the pair of Marlena Fauer ’14 and Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 took second place in the B Division.
Rob Struckett ’12 and Isabel Elliman ’12 led the way for the Bulldog victory in Vermont with a decisive win in the A Division of their regatta.
“Rob and Isabelle have such a great attitude that they bring to the team,” said Morris. “I was really happy to see them do so well.”
Belling said the teams’ early successes are especially promising given how many new partnerships are still being formed.
But Morris said the team still can make improvements.
He said in addition to working on getting the freshman sailors prepared for nationals in June, the team still needs to work on its starts, which are an important part of the regattas because the courses are so short.
“There are a lot of good things happening now,” Belling said, “but we still have some work to do.”
The women’s team will travel to Boston University next weekend for the Regis Bowl, and the co-ed team will split up for five different regattas: the St. Mary’s Fall Intersectional; the Hood Trophy; the Chris Loder Trophy; the Salt Pond Invitational and the Larry White Trophy New England Match Racing Championship.
In difficult conditions along the Atlantic coast, Yale sailors succeeded Saturday and Sunday with three top-three finishes in the Bulldogs’ first regattas of the year.
The women’s team finished second at the Toni Deustch Trophy at MIT, while the co-ed team placed third in the Yale-hosted Harry Anderson Trophy, first in the Harman Cup in Maine and seventh at the Mt. Hope Bay Invitational in Rhode Island.
The women’s team traveled to Boston to compete in an MIT-hosted event on the Charles River. Heather May ’13 and her skipper, Claire Dennis ’13, raced in the A division, while Genoa Warner ’12 and Stephanie Schuyler ’12 participated in the B division. After a mild Saturday, the combined efforts of the four put the Elis in third place, within striking distance of the second-place Coast Guard Academy. The Bulldogs took advantage of Sunday’s favorable conditions to finish the event in second place behind winner Brown, just one point ahead of the Coast Guard. This was the first event where the women’s team used the FJ boat after racing the same event in 420s last year.
“Saturday was like five to eight knots of breeze,” May said. “Sunday contained more random gusts of breeze, [which] gave us more opportunities to make gains. Each race on Sunday became more crucial.”
Dennis added: “It’s a great way to start off the season, and it bodes well for the rest of the year.”
On the Long Island Sound, hosts Yale finished third overall in the co-ed Harry Anderson Trophy. A division crew Joseph Morris ’12 and Elizabeth Brim ’11 and B division pair Cameron Cullman ’12 and Blair Belling ’11 led the team to third place with 73 points on a tricky first day of competition. On Sunday, the Bulldogs substituted Eugenia Custo Greig ’14 in for Belling and rotated Brim out for Rafael Fernandez ’13 on a day that presented sailors with a new set of weather conditions.
“Sunday was pretty breezy, so it was really fun,” Cullman said. “Big waves.”
The Bulldogs pushed through the big waves and breeze to finish with 136 points, good enough for third in a tournament that featured teams from all over the country.
“I love sailing at home because our venue is amazing,” Cullman said. “I felt pretty good, but I think I have a lot of room for improvement.”
In Castine, Maine, the team of Christopher Segerblom ’14, Rob Struckett ’12, Max Nickbarg ’14 and Amanda Salvesen ’14 captured first place in the Harman Cup, a regatta featuring four-person boats. After finishing third and second in the first two races, respectively, the group rolled off five straight wins to beat out Roger Williams and Tufts. The victory qualified the Bulldogs for the New England Match Racing Championship, to be held in two weeks at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Members of the co-ed sailing team also finished seventh in the Mt. Hope Bay Invitational in Bristol, R.I. Andrew Kurzrok ’11 and Isabel Elliman ’13 finished seventh in the A division, while B division team Tatyana Camejo ’11 and Nathan Stevens ’13 produced the same result in the B division.
The Hatch Brown Trophy at MIT, the Lake Champlain Open in Vermont and the Boston Harbor Invitational at Boston College await the Elis next weekend.
Correction: Sept. 23, 2010
An earlier version of this article misstated the class year of Cameron Cullman ’12.
Despite snow in New Haven, the Eli sailors found brighter skies in Maryland over the weekend at the Tom Noble Race. The Bulldogs traveled to Chestertown, Md., where they placed second in the team race hosted by Washington College. The out-of-district tournament drew eight teams to the Chester River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Temperatures in the 40s and a 5- to 10- knot wind made sailing a breeze for the Eli sailors, who are used to the blustery and more exposed waters of Long Island Sound.
“I think the conditions were absolutely beautiful,” Sarah Lihan ’10 said. “We were going into this weekend thinking it would be nasty, but it was beyond what anyone could have hoped for with February sailing.”
It was the Bulldogs’ first ever race at Washington College, a Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association school. (Most New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association schools have not opened their facilities since closing for the winter.) As the spring season starts, competition begins in the south and moves north.
The pairs of Lihan and Elizabeth Brim ’11, Marla Menninger ’10 and Andrew Kurzrok ’11, and Joseph Morris ’12 and Heather May ’13 manned the Elis’ three boats.
“It went really well,” captain Morris said. “We had planned on it being a trainer regatta so we left without our starters.”
Saturday’s competition featured an eight-boat rotation that allowed each team to race all the other teams. One and a half rotations — 12 regattas — were completed over the course of the morning. Boston University took the lead with the Bulldogs trailing 7–2 by evening.
On Sunday, the second rotation that had started Saturday was finished, and around noon, race organizers split the field into two fleets: the gold and silver. Each team raced three more races to complete the day.
In the gold fleet, Yale joined BU, the US Naval Academy and Washington College. The Elis finished the weekend 13–4 overall.
“The schools that were there had sent their best people,” Lihan said of the competition.
This might have put the Elis at a disadvantage, but the depth on the team helped the Bulldogs sail to victory.
Next week marks the true beginning of the spring season as the Elis split their field between two regattas. Teams will race at the Thames River Team Race hosted by U.S.C.G. Academy in New London, Conn., and the Graham Hall Team Race at U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.