No. 8 Bulldogs Prepare for ACCs Qualifier

Qualifier To Take Place At Coast Guard

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Though light winds prevented a Bulldogs comeback last Sunday at the Hoyt Trophy, the team is working for smoother sailing this weekend at the Schell Trophy, hosted at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  The top eight teams at the Schell will qualify for the Atlantic Coast Championship, to be held in two weeks' time at the U.S. Naval Academy.  The Bulldogs will also sail the inaugural Dave Perry Trophy out of the McNay Family Sailing Center and travel to Massachusetts Maritime for the Nickerson Trophy.

New England's top teams will converge on New London, Conn., this weekend, racing in Coast Guard's twin fleets of FJs and 420s.  The event is one of the most crucial of the season, winnowing a field of 18 down to eight transfers to the Atlantic Coast Championship.  The ACCs are the culmination of fall collegiate sailing; momentum can often translate to early performance in the spring.  Last year, the Bulldogs came from behind in the last set to beat Roger Williams for the win.  Much has changed since last November, but Yale is still aiming for the same result. 

NEISA's allowance at the ACCs has been expanded from six teams to eight, a positive step for the country's most competitive region.  Furthermore, the regatta has moved from its traditional home at MIT to Coast Guard -- both tricky venues, but for different reasons.  MIT's home on the Charles River is known for some of the shiftiest weather in college sailing, but sailors who harmonize with the river's oscillations can reel off impressive strings of strong finishes.  Coast Guard's Thames River, alternatively, has a torrential current that can make the racing formulaic: the winner will be the farthest from an adverse current and farthest into an advantageous current.

Half of last year's Schell-winning team is returning for the 2010 event.  Junior Joseph Morris has replaced Thomas Barrows '10 in A division, and will be sailing with freshman Amanda Salvesen.  Senior Blair Belling, previously Barrows' crew, is now racing with sophomore Cameron Cullman in B division.  Sophomore Rafael Fernandez, who assisted Morris for five windy races last year, will be on call again should the winds turn gusty. 

Yale is also playing host to the first annual Dave Perry Trophy.  The event is named for Dave Perry '77, who as captain led the team to the 1975 national championship.  Perry has remained an active part of Yale Sailing, both as a board member of the Yale Sailing Associates and as a rules advisor to the Bulldogs for both team and match racing.  The Perry Trophy is a new event on the collegiate circuit, and 12 teams, including two sets of Elis, will trek to Short Beach for the regatta.  On team "Bulldogs" will be junior Rob Struckett and senior Tatyana Camejo in A division, and senior Andrew Kurzrok and junior Isabel Elliman in B division.  Team "Elis" will feature senior Nathan Stevens and sophomore Senem Cilingiroglu in A division, and sophomore Zachary Foreman and senior Alexa Chu in B division.  Freshmen Emily Farr and William Feldman may also make a start for the Elis. 

Lastly, Yale's freshmen will test their skills against NEISA's other rookies at the Nickerson Trophy.  The event is limited to freshmen, and sailed in 420s on the always-difficult Great Herring Pond.  Max Nickbarg and Anna Han will sail A division, with Nace Cohen and Maddy Yozwiak challenging in B division.

This weekend's weather may leave competitors feeling spooked, with more tricks than treats.  High pressure may threaten winds on Saturday, though its interaction with other fronts could instead generate strong breezes.  With luck, the Bulldogs can avoid ghosts and gremlins en route to the Atlantic Coast Championship.

All racing begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Report filed by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity