Bulldogs Collect A Win and Two Third-Place Finishes
NEW LONDON, Conn.—The No. 6 Yale coed sailing team had a very successful weekend finishing in the top three in the three regattas they sailed in across New England. The Bulldogs finished third at the highly competitive Danmark Trophy hosted by the Coast Guard Academy and at the Mystic Lake Invitational as well as winning the Connecticut College Invite.
The Danmark Trophy was primed to be the most competitive regatta to date this fall as only three of the schools ranked in the top twenty in the country were missing from the event and the regatta did not disappoint. The event, hosted by the Coast Guard Academy on the Thames River in both 420s and FJs, gave the Bulldogs a great look at the other top teams in the country and proved that they are one of the teams to beat in college sailing.
The conditions, as is often the case on the Thames River, were incredibly trying. Saturday morning began with a northerly breeze and not very much current but morphed into a much more shifty northeast to northwest following the lunch break. In addition to the lighter, shiftier breeze, the current increased making life that much more difficult for the sailors who sometimes found themselves in spots with very little breeze on the course.
Sunday proved to be even more difficult with multiple breezeless breaks. Racing began at 11:15 a.m. when a westerly finally filled in before disappearing just before 2:00 p.m. At 2:30 p.m. a southerly filled in allowing just enough time for the completion of the 13th race in B division, evening up the regatta.
That last B division race proved crucial for the Bulldogs as it allowed them to sneak into third just one point ahead of Connecticut College. Hobart William Smith had a very strong regatta, winning by over forty points. Tufts finished in second, with Wisconsin rounding out the top five.
Senior captain skipper Joseph Morris and crew Isabel Elliman finally got to sail in their first regatta together as Morris has spent the first couple weeks of the season sailing sloops. The duo fought through a few inconsistent races to finish fourth in A division, losing the tiebreaker for third. They were only five points out of second and had seven top fives, including a win in race 11.
The Bulldogs alternated between two different teams in B division who combined for a sixth place finish. Skipper sophomore Chris Segerblom and crew junior Heather May sailed in eight of the races while skipper junior Cam Cullman and crew senior Genoa Warner sailed in the remaining five. They also had some inconsistent races, as is often the case on the Thames, but finished with four top fives.
Just up the Thames River at Connecticut College's venue, the Bulldogs took the win at the Connecticut College Invite, the fourth regatta in the Southern Series. The Bulldogs mastered the shifty conditions of the Thames in FJs. Racing was conducted in combined divisions because there were only nine teams.
Skipper freshman Graham Landy had a dominating performance with crew sophomore Eugenia Custo Grieg. The pair won four of the nine races and never finished worst than fifth, winning A division by six points. Freshmen skipper Morgan Kiss and crew Katherine Gaumond also had an impressive regatta, collecting four top fives including a win in the first race on their way to finishing second in B division.
The team of Bulldogs at the Mystic Lake Invite hosted by Tufts were forced to wait until Sunday to hit the water as Saturday offered too little breeze for even the mighty Larks with flat top main sails. Sunday offered a great, squirrely breeze of around eight knots, allowing for the completion of eight races in combined divisions. The Bulldogs finished third behind two host teams, who worked their home field advantage to the upmost.
Skipper senior Rob Struckett and crew freshman Sarah Smith were able to capitalize on the shifty conditions, taking the win in A division, finishing with four top fives, including two wins. Skipper sophomore Max Nickbarg and crew senior Margot Benedict finished third in B division with two top-five finishes.
Next weekend the Bulldogs will take to the water in three very different types of boats. A team will travel to the University of Rhode Island for the Moody Trophy, sailed in FJs. Two of the Bulldogs, Cullman and Nickbarg, will sail in the Men's New England Singlehanded Championships in Lasers, hoping to qualify for the National Singlehanded Championships which will be sailed in Chicago later this fall. A third, large team of Bulldogs will sail in the Storm Trysail College event, an annual chance for college sailors to hone their big boat sailing skills.
Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity