March 4, 2012

No. 4 Bulldogs Sail to Third in Warm Waters

Bulldogs Fight Through Big Breeze

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The No. 4 Yale coed sailing team, represented by four women this weekend, sailed past far bigger combinations in some stiff breeze to place third at the Eckerd Intersectional hosted by Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Bulldogs were able to steadily improve their scores, despite the building breeze, finishing with their strongest four races of the regatta.

The Bulldogs arrived in Florida on Friday night, ready for some Vitamin D and warm water. While Mother Nature did not allow the Bulldogs much of a gradual start to spring break with a large amount of breeze, the Bulldogs were grateful for the opportunity to sail in some fabulous conditions.

Saturday dawned with temperatures near 80 and beautiful blue skies. Sailing conditions could not have been better with breeze from the South ranging from about 12 to 17 knots. The breeze and chop rose throughout the day allowing for some surfing conditions. The first few races were sailed on windward-leeward courses but once the breeze built enough, the race committee set a triangle windward-leeward courses allowing for some exciting reaches. Only six races were completed in each division as the regatta was called a bit before 4:00 p.m. because the larger magnitude breeze was taking a toll on the Eckerd boats.

Sunday brought even bigger breeze, forcing the race committee to set a course in a more sheltered area causing shiftier sailing. The wind came out of the Northwest with puffs up to 30 knots and a consistent breeze of at least twenty.

Junior skipper Claire Dennis and senior crew Margot Benedict captured second in A division. After getting off to a bit of a rusty start, they went on a consistent tear, remaining within the top four for the final eight races of the regatta. They had four wins, two of which were the final races of the regatta in some of the biggest breeze of the weekend.

Freshman skipper Morgan Kiss and sophomore skipper Amanda Salvesen also got their worst race out of the way and then went on to finish in the top in nine of the ten races. They won the ninth race and were well on their way to a victory in the final race before MIT decided to match race them, resorting to rather extreme measures for an early season regatta. Despite the intense pressure, Kiss and Salvesen finished second in the race, ahead of MIT, putting them third in B division.

The Bulldogs finished just three points out of second behind the Coast Guard Academy and the College of Charleston. While many teams resorted to heavy crews, the Bulldogs stuck with their lighter all-female duos. In fact, the Bulldogs won the day Sunday, which was far breezier than Saturday.

The other Bulldogs were sailing around the corner at the University of South Florida, where the team will be training the rest of the week. With some extremely talented Alumni around for the weekend, the Bulldogs had intense team and fleet racing sessions, learning new skills and getting their sailing legs back under them.

Following a week of training in St. Petersburg, the Bulldogs will head to Maryland for the St. Mary's Team Race.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity 

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