March 14, 2011

No. 8 Bulldogs Gain Valuable Experience in Maryland

Bulldogs Finish Eighth at First Team Race Intersectional

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md.—The No. 8 Yale Coed Sailing Team rode ups and downs to finish eighth at the St. Mary's Team Race Intersectional hosted by St. Mary's College of Maryland in St. Mary's City, Md. The Bulldogs, with a slightly different rotating team, learned a lot from the early season event.

On Saturday, the Mid-Atlantic weather treated the Bulldogs nicely with temperatures up near 60 degrees and sunshine, allowing the Bulldogs to ease into the cooler temperatures after spending the week in Florida. The breeze on the St. Mary's River came from the south and ranged from five to 12 knots, allowing for the completion of 72 races on the typical digital N team race course which translated to the completion of one round-robin and 80 percent of a second round robin.

Sunday's breeze was a bit inconsistent leading to some wind delays as the temperatures climbed up into the 60s. However, the second round robin was completed in a shifty and puffy breeze that came out of the north and the northwest. The Bulldogs failed to reach the final four and were thus finished sailing soon after 1:00 p.m.

The Bulldogs have been hampered by injuries, most notably by a knee injury to sophomore skipper Cameron Cullman. This meant that rather than having the normal team race team, the Bulldogs had to sub in a skipper and crew as the third boat. The two normal team race skipper-crew combinations of junior captain skipper Joseph Morris and freshman crew Amanda Salvesen and freshman skipper Chris Segerblom and senior crew Elizabeth Brim used their advanced team race knowledge to invite a two new skippers into the fold. Sophomores skipper Claire Dennis and crew Heather May alternated with freshman skipper Max Nickbarg and senior crew Blair Belling, Cullman's regular crew, as the third Bulldog boat. The Bulldogs also did a few crew swaps throughout the regatta due to differing wind conditions.

The Bulldogs finished with a record of 6-12, which tied them with St. Mary's for seventh place. However, because St. Mary's beat Yale in both head-head match ups, Yale lost the tiebreaker. No. 1 Boston College won the event with a total record of 18-3.

Team race newcomer Dennis greeted the experience as an excellent opportunity to learn. She commented, "It was great to be able to finally race against other teams after a great week of practicing in Florida with the rest of the team as well as some alumni. We lost quite a few close races but overall it was a great opportunity for us to be able to team race. Overall this past week as helped us improve at and better understand team racing."

Dennis also benefited from the help of Morris, Cullman and Segerblom as well as Coach Zachary Leonard. She added, "It was very helpful to be able to discuss strategy and plays during the off races with [Leonard] and to see races play out from the deck at St. Mary's with the chance to go out and try it again."

 While the weekend was not as successful as the team had hoped, the experience gained by all members of the team will help them throughout the rest of the spring season. Next weekend, the Bulldogs will take a break from team racing and focus back on fleet racing throughout the Northeast.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity