Barrows Takes Third At Singlehanded Nationals

Thomas Barrows.
Thomas Barrows.

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Strong Result After Three Days Of Racing

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - No. 1 Bulldogs sailor Thomas Barrows sailed to a strong third-place finish at the 2009 ICSA men's singlehanded national championship this weekend in Corpus Christi, Tex.  Despite Corpus Christi's distinction as the windiest coastal city in North America, the weekend was fraught with a difficult combination of light breezes and large, choppy waves.

Corpus Christi played host to this year's men's singlehanded national championship, sailed in the Laser Standard.  Many expected the event to provide gusty breezes, forcing sailors to push the limits in a boat known for its high power-to-weight ratio.  This was not to be, however, with competitors unable to stretch their hiking legs and instead often being forced to squat inside the cockpits of these narrow dinghies. 

The trip began on Thursday morning, when Barrows, three sailors from the Bulldogs women's team who had qualified for women's nationals, McNay Family Director of Yale Sailing Zachary Leonard '89 and assistant coach Bill Healy all flew to Texas for the event.  Though they did not need to supply their own boats, the Yale team brought along a large kit of spare items. 

Racing began Friday morning.  Light and variable breezes made for tough sailing which required sensitivity and focus.  Saturday's racing was similar, but by the end of two days of racing the race committee was able to complete 16 of the 18 scheduled races. Mother Nature finally brought relief on Sunday for the final two heats in the form of 8-10 knot breezes. 

Barrows put together a strong score-line throughout the regatta, winning two races and recording nine top-five finishes to finish in third with 102 points overall.  Juan Maegli of College of Charleston won the event with 66 points.    

One of the most difficult aspects of this weekend's racing was the start.  The short starting line required perfect execution by competitors, who had to balance maintaining boatspeed with protecting position and edging over the line too early.  Often, a sort of arms-race would push large portions of the fleet over the line early, forcing a general recall.  Many races required two or three attempts before the entire fleet would start behind the line.

Barrows will return to double-handed action next week for the Atlantic Coast Championships at Harvard.  This event, the last of the fall season, is the highlight of the year and in part determines scheduling for next year.

report by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity