May 9, 2011

No. 6 Bulldogs Qualify for National Team Race Championship

Bulldogs Finish Second to Grab One of Three Spots

ENFIELD, N.H.—The No. 6 Yale coed sailing team put together their best weekend of team racing of the season just at the right moment, finishing second at the New England Team Race Championship for the Fowle trophy and securing a spot at the ICSA National Team Race Championship later this month. The Bulldogs faced incredibly tough competition in what is thought to be the deepest region in the country, but battled to claim one of three qualifying spots in New England.

If you asked anyone in college sailing at the beginning of April who would claim the three qualifying spots at the New England Team Race Championship, Yale probably would not have been one of them. The Bulldogs were ranked 11th in the April 1 Team Race rankings. However, the complete Yale team had yet to hit the water due to injuries. The comments from coaches on April 1 were that the Bulldogs were a young team but had great potential. The Bulldogs reached their potential just at the right moment to claim a spot at the ICSA National Team Race Championship for the third year in a row.

The forecast for this weekend was anything but promising with very light breeze predicted for both days. In fact, the pro told the sailors at the competitors meeting that "The forecast was NOT good." Thankfully, the breeze was out to prove him wrong. A northerly filled in time for racing to begin around 10:25 a.m. With a few fluky wind conditions throughout the day, the race committee was able to complete the qualifying round by 2:30 p.m. and the first gold round by 7:30 p.m. Conditions were similar on Sunday.

The first round robin split the teams into two groups of six. The top four teams in each went onto the gold round. The Bulldogs finished the first round with three wins and two losses to put them in third in their group. The results from this round were simply for qualification purposes and did not count towards the overall record.

Next up was the gold round robin with the top eight teams. The Bulldogs finished the round robin with five wins and two losses to put them into second. They had the same record as Roger Williams but won their race against them so were ahead of them in the standings.

The third round robin of the event, conducted on Sunday, was the second gold round robin. The Bulldogs once again finished with five wins and two losses, giving them an overall gold round record of 10 wins and four losses putting them in third place, the last qualifying spot.

The final round robin of the event was sailed between the top six teams: Boston College, Roger Williams, Harvard, Brown, Vermont and the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs finished up the round with three wins and two losses giving them an overall record of 13 wins and six losses, placing them second ahead of Roger Williams, who they beat in both gold round robins and in the final six round. Harvard made a late push with four wins and one loss in the final round but finished one win out of a qualifying spot for nationals. Boston College won the event with a record of 17 wins and two losses with Yale in second and Roger Williams in third.

The Bulldogs were led by skippers junior captain Joseph Morris, sophomore Cam Cullman and freshman Chris Segerblom. Hardworking crews seniors Blair Belling and Elizabeth Brim, sophomore Heather May, and freshman Amanda Salvesen contributed to the top result.

The National Team Race Championship will be held at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon in FJs from May 27th to May 29th, in between the Women's National Championship and the Dinghy National Championship.

The Bulldogs will remain at Yale after final exams, training at the McNay Family Sailing Center until they make the trip to Oregon. This Saturday they will host the Chris Murphy Alumni Regatta. The event is held annually in honor of Chris Murphy, a former captain of the Yale sailing team who perished on Sept. 11, 2001 in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Many talented alumni will spend the day sailing in his honor and while a fun event, it will no doubt include a lot of competitive racing.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity