May 5, 2011

No. 6 Bulldogs Team Race for Spot at National Championships

Bulldogs to Compete at New England Team Race Championship

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After last weekend's impressive second-place finish at the ICSA Western Semifinal Championship, the No. 6 Yale coed sailing team rocketed up the rankings five spots. The Bulldogs hope to carry the momentum from a great weekend of fleet racing into the New England Team Race Championship for the Fowle Trophy hosted by Dartmouth on Lake Mascoma in Enfield, N.H. The top three finishers at the Fowle Trophy will qualify for the ICSA National Team Race Championship May 27-29 at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.

Lake Mascoma is well known to the Bulldogs, who make the trip north at least once a year for the Captain Hurst Intersectional in the fall. It is a long thin lake that runs north to southeast. If the wind is blowing down the long length of the river then it is pretty steady but if it starts to blow across the skinny width it gets quite shifty. Lake Mascoma was also used by NASA to test a rover for Antarctica, indicating its deep-freezing ability. While the water will still be quite chilly, all of the ice is finally gone from the water. Snow showers are predicted for Enfield tonight but the temperatures are supposed to warm up all the way into the upper 60s for the weekend.

Each region is allotted a certain number of berths at the ICSA Team Race National Championship, which makes up the 14-team field. Due to its incredibly strong team racing teams, New England probably has the toughest qualification standard. Many of the New England teams were ranked extremely high on the season's one team race ranking. The Bulldogs will face competition from 11 other teams including No. 2 Boston College, No. 3 Harvard, No 4 Roger Williams and No. 9 Brown. With only three teams qualifying for the National Championship, racing will be incredibly competitive and tight.

Racing will be conducted in 24 FJs. The teams have been split into two different groups and will race within the six boat groups before moving on to a top-eight competition that will decide the berths for Nationals. The breeze is supposed to be light all weekend but hopefully there will be enough for plenty of racing.

Last year the Bulldogs finished third at the Fowle trophy, grabbing the last qualification spot. The Bulldogs faced "nuclear" conditions in Newport, R.I., with big breeze all weekend.

While the Bulldogs have had to have creative practices this week due to exams, all of the teams have had valuable time on the water and head into this weekend prepared and ready to take on some of the best team racing teams in the country.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity

 

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