No. 4 Bulldogs Finish Third At Southern New England Team Race

Margot Benedict and Emily Billing. (Photo by Isabel Elliman '12)
Margot Benedict and Emily Billing. (Photo by Isabel Elliman '12)

Team Edged Out of Second Place Overall on a Tie-Breaker

NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Bulldogs finished third this weekend at the Southern New England Team Race Intersectional, hosted by Connecticut College and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  Medium breezes allowed the race committee to run three round-robins for the 16 teams present, including many of the top-ranked teams.  Yale finished the regatta with a 9-5 record in Gold Fleet, and Georgetown won the event.    

A preliminary qualifying round at Coast Guard on Saturday morning placed the Bulldogs in the Gold Fleet and earned them a shot to compete for the overall title.  The team made the short drive along the Thames River to the Connecticut College venue, where the Gold Fleet racing would be held.  Over the next day and a half, the Bulldogs would compete in two more round-robins, this time against the other top-seeded teams.  Other Gold Fleet contenders included Boston College, Brown, College of Charleston, Georgetown, Harvard, Roger Williams and St. Mary’s. 

Sailing for the Bulldogs were seniors Thomas Barrows, Michael Hession, Sarah Lihan and Marla Menninger, juniors Blair Belling and Elizabeth Brim and sophomore Joseph Morris.  Conditions were moderate on both Saturday and Sunday, generally between five and 12 knots.  However, the wind was not always consistent within races.  Sometimes, one leg would be breezy enough for full hiking and by the next leg there would be so little wind that teams would have to play gybing angles instead of wing-on-wing running.

Though the team ended up an impressive third place, the regatta was not without its challenges. Yale ran into trouble early in the qualifying round, nearly missing the Gold Fleet.  The group righted itself by late Saturday afternoon, and had an extremely successful outing on Sunday.  

Lihan had only one word for the weekend: “resilience.”

The Bulldogs also sent an oversized squad to Southern Series Three, hosted by University of Rhode Island.  The Bulldogs sent two teams to the event, which featured combined divisions.  This meant that all four Yale boats – both A and B divisions-- would race on the same course at the same time.  Freshman Emily Billing and sophomore Margot Benedict finished fifth, senior John Vrolyk and sophomore Isabel Elliman finished eighth, junior Andrew Kurzrok and freshman Grace Zimmerly finished ninth, and freshmen Zachary Foreman and Jo Hanle finished 10th.  Teams sailed 10 races in eight to 12 knot winds.    

Next weekend the Bulldogs will race at the Marchiando and Friis Trophies at MIT and Tufts, Southern Series Four at Coast Guard and Team Racing A Level at Roger Williams.

Report By Andrew Kurzrok ’11, Yale Sports Publicity