No. 5 Bulldogs Return to the Water With Full Force

Bulldogs Look to Kick-Off the 2011-2012 Season With a Strong First Weekend

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The No. 5 Yale coed sailing team will hit the water for the first weekend of the 2011-2012 season primed and ready for what lies ahead as they attempt to solidify their place among the top teams in the country. Rather than slowly working their way into the season, the Bulldogs will jump right in with three regattas, sailing at the lone coed intersectional held at Yale, the Harry Anderson Trophy, as well as at the Coast Guard Academy in the Pine Trophy Match Race and at Roger Williams at the Mt. Hope Bay Invitational. 

While many teams would be ecstatic about a seventh- and eighth-place finish at the national championships, with a long of being the best in the nation, Yale is only truly satisfied when it ends the season at the top of the leader board and the 2011-2012 team is poised to do just that. While all of the other top teams in the nation graduated at least one of their top skippers, if not both, the Bulldogs will return all of the skippers who sailed at the National Championships.

Senior captain Joseph Morris will lead the way as the Bulldogs look to have a strong fall season followed by a spring season that will take them back to the National Championships which will be held June 3 through June 8 on Lake Travis outside of Austin, Texas. Morris has been one of the top skippers of the team since he arrived on campus in the fall of 2008 and he will use the experience he has garnered over his three years to guide the team towards its ultimate goal, a National Championship. With a strong freshman class including skippers Morgan Kiss, Urska Kosir and Graham Landy and crews Katherine Gaumond and Sarah Smith as well as a strong core of returning sailors, this goal is certainly within the Bulldogs' reach.

The Bulldogs will host the Harry Anderson Trophy this weekend at the McNay Family Sailing Center in Branford. While Yale has one of the best venues in college sailing, it only hosts one coed and one women's intersectional in the fall, making what is fondly referred to as the Harry A's extremely important.

The regatta is named for Harry H. Anderson '43 who played an incredibly important role in establishing a strong sailing program at Yale, as well as contributing to the development of college sailing as a whole. Because of this, the Bulldogs take great pride in doing well at this regatta and will look to improve on their third-place finish in 2010.

Skippers junior Cameron Cullman and sophomore Chris Segerblom and senior crews Margot Benedict and Genoa Warner will look to use home field advantage to regain the trophy that was last won by the Bulldogs in 2009. This will be no easy task, as they will be competing against many of the top teams in the country including No. 1 Boston College, No. 3 Roger Williams, No. 6 St. Mary's, No. 8 Brown and No. 10 Harvard.

The Bulldogs will also start down the road of qualification for the ICSA National Match Race Championship, which will be held in San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 18-20. The Bulldogs will sail in the Pine Trophy Match Race hosted by the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., on the Thames River.

For the second year in a row, the national sloop championships (held each fall in larger boats than the normal 420s and FJs) will be sailed as a match race tournament. This means that two teams will go head to head around a course. The qualification occurs through a bracket format. The Pine Trophy is a qualifier for the New England Match Race Championships, which will then send teams on to the National Championships. The Pine Trophy will be sailed in Colgate 26s, which are designed to be sailed by four people.

Morris will skipper the Yale boat with crews senior Rob Struckett and sophomores Max Nickbarg and Amanda Salvesen.

The Bulldogs will also sail in a third regatta this weekend. A team of Bulldogs including skippers junior Emily Billing and sophomore Will Feldman and crews senior Isabel Elliman and sophomore Emily Farr will travel to Roger Williams in Bristol, R.I., for the Mt. Hope Bay Invitational. It is the first Southern Series regatta of the fall season.

All three regattas will begin with a 9:30 a.m. report time on Saturday morning.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity