Tough Racing On Thames River Nets Championship Spot
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Facing elimination, the Bulldogs fought back Sunday to earn a spot at the Atlantic Coast Championship, to be held at the U.S. Naval Academy in two weeks. The Bulldogs qualified with a sixth place finish at the Schell Trophy, held at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Yale also finished fourth at the first annual Dave Perry Trophy at the McNay Family Sailing Center and 11th at the Nickerson Trophy at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
For the first time in its 70 year history, the Schell Trophy was not held on Boston's Charles River by MIT, but on New London, Conn.'s Thames River. The regatta is New England's unofficial fall championship, with the top eight finishers in the 18-boat fleet representing the region at the Atlantic Coast Championship (ACCs).
The regatta did not open as the Bulldogs had hoped. In A division, junior skipper Joseph Morris and freshman crew Amanda Salvesen opened the event with a pair of 12th place finishes. The pair regained their stride later in the day, and finished Saturday sixth in division. Sophomore Cameron Cullman began the regatta with senior Blair Belling, but the notched inconsistent results. Cullman and Belling scored a third in race four, but also had several low finishes. Freshman Christopher Segerblom substituted in for Cullman for the last set of the day. At the end of Saturday's racing, the Bulldogs sat 11th overall.
Yet the team was not willing to give up without a fight. Segerblom and Belling came out Sunday and scored back-to-back race wins, with Morris and Salvesen picking up a win of their own. As the breeze built sophomore Rafael Fernandez replaced Salvesen and Belling rotated out for sophomore Heather May, who spent Saturday racing at the Victoria Coffee Urn, a women's event, just up the river at Connecticut College. Yale consistently pushed its way up the rankings to come home sixth, qualifying by 15 points. Boston College won the event.
Yale also hosted the first Dave Perry Trophy, named for the 1977 alumnus 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. Thirteen teams attended the event, held at the McNay Family Sailing Center. Spectacular sailing conditions were the highlight of the weekend. An 18-knot westerly wind on Saturday brought gigantic waves to Short Beach under a clear blue sky. Yale sent two teams to the event, "Bulldogs" and "Elis". Team Bulldogs' A division was junior Rob Struckett and senior Tatyana Camejo, with seniors Andrew Kurzrok and Alexa Chu racing in B division. As the breeze built, sophomore Emily Billing –usually a skipper – tried her hand at crewing for Struckett. On team Elis, senior Nathan Stevens and sophomore Senem Cilingiroglu raced A division and with freshman William Feldman pairing with sophomores Katherine Eshel and Sinead O'Brien and freshman Emily Farr in B division.
The regatta standings remained tight heading into Sunday, with only a few points separating the top four teams. The breeze Sunday was nearly as strong as Saturday's but from the north, which made it highly unstable and shifty. Team Bulldogs remained in the hunt all day, and came in fourth, 14 points behind winner Brown University. Team Elis, which did not compete in A division on Sunday, finished 12th overall.
Yale's rookies attended the Nickerson Trophy, a freshman-only regatta at Massachusetts Maritime. Max Nickbarg and Anna Han raced in A division for the Bulldogs while Nace Cohen and Maddy Yozwiak competed in B division. Nickbarg and Han finished second in division and Cohen and Yozwiak took 13th.
Most Bulldogs will take next weekend off before the ACCs, but Cullman will be travelling to St. Petersburg, Fla., to compete in the ICSA Singlehanded National Championship.
Report filed by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity