No. 2 Bulldogs Finish Fourth at Graham Hall Team Race

Thomas Barrows.
Thomas Barrows.

Two Team Races Across Northeast; Spring Season Now in Full Swing

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - After a long off-season and two weeks of out-of-district competition, college sailing hit its stride this weekend.  The Bulldogs sent teams to an intersectional team race at the U.S. Naval Academy as well as the Thames River Team Race, hosted by Connecticut College.  Yale finished fourth at Navy and sixth at Connecticut College.

Sixteen teams met in Annapolis, Md., for the Graham Hall Team Race hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy.  Seniors Thomas Barrows, Mike Hession, Sarah Lihan and Marla Menninger, juniors Blair Belling and Liz Brim and sophomore Joseph Morris represented the Bulldogs at the event.  Junior Nathan Stevens aided the team with regatta support at the Graham Hall event, named after an illustrious Navy coach from the 1970s and 1980s. 

Saturday brought temperatures in the mid-forties with shifty winds between five and 12 knots.  Current was a factor in the race calculations.  The regatta employed two courses on the Chesapeake Bay and teams raced in FJs and 420s.  After a round-robin in the morning, half the teams from each course switched locations, allowing each team to race every other team. 

"The races were really efficient, in typical Navy style," Lihan said.

After Saturday's racing, the Bulldogs sat in a tie for second place, with a 12-3 record. 

Sunday brought straighter wind and less current.  The Bulldogs qualified for the gold fleet.  Sunday morning's successful performances moved the Bulldogs into the final four.  Georgetown was guaranteed the regatta win by virtue of their accumulated race record, with Navy, St. Mary's and Yale dueling for second place overall.  After two close races, the Bulldogs finished fourth overall.

"Every race was close," Lihan said, describing the final four.  "There were certainly no 1-2-3 sail-away races."

A second set of sailors travelled to New London, Conn., for the Thames River Team Race.  Seniors Rebecca Jackson and John Vrolyk, junior Andrew Kurzrok, sophomores Isabel Elliman, Stephanie Schuyler and Jared Shenson and freshman Grace Zimmerly sailed for the Bulldogs.

After a brief postponement due to a lack of wind, racing began Saturday morning with a round-robin for the eight boat fleet.  After a second mid-day postponement because of light breezes, the Bulldogs were in seventh with a 2-7 record.  Sunday brought similar conditions, but overnight the Bulldogs worked through the off-season rust.  Yale went on a 6-1 tear in the second round-robin, moving up to sixth overall.  The team went 2-1 in its silver fleet races, finishing the regatta fourth overall. 

Schuyler found herself getting faster throughout the event.

"Everything felt weird at first, but it was good to be back on the water. By the end of the second day, our boathandling and communication improved immensely."

Similarly, Vrolyk was excited to be back on the water.

"After the third tack, I realized how much I missed sailing over the off-season."              

The Bulldogs have plenty of racing in their future, heading to Charleston, S.C., Sunday night to practice for a week during spring recess.  After a week of practice, the team will put their learning to the test next weekend at the St. Mary's Team Race.

Report filed by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity