March 12, 2012

No. 2 Bulldogs Finish Fifth at St. Mary’s Team Race

Bulldogs Sail Strong on Saturday

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md.—The No. 2 Yale coed sailing team had a fantastic first day at the St. Mary's Team Race but struggled a bit on the second day, leading to a fifth place finish. While Sunday was frustrating the Bulldogs showed that they are one of the team racign teams to beat as they won numerous races against other top-ranked teams. 

The Bulldogs arrived in Maryland with several days of quality team racing under their belt, ready to battle with other great teams in the three boat vs. three boat format. Saturday dawned shifty and blustery with a northerly breeze ranging from five to 15 knots, causing tricky conditions as varying wind across the racecourse required heads up sailing.

The Bulldogs proved that their long practices in Florida, including video sessions off the water, had paid off with a strong finish on Sunday, catapulting them into the lead with a record of eight wins and three losses, one win better than the next two teams.

While Sunday dawned warmer and sunnier with temperatures into the sixties, the improved weather did not boost the Bulldogs as they struggled to find Saturday's rhythm, which is essential for good results in team racing. The breeze came from the more consistent south and ranged from five to 10 knots.

With relatively consistent breeze ranges, the Bulldogs sailed with the same boats except for one switch in the larger breeze ranges. Junior captain Cam Cullman, senior Joseph Morris and sophomore Chris Segerblom skippered for the Bulldogs. Freshman Katherine Gaumond crewed for Segerblom and senior Genoa Warner crewed for Cullman. Junior Heather May crewed for Morris races one through nine and 14 through 16 with senior Isabel Elliman crewing for Morris in races 10-13 and 17-18.

The Bulldogs finished with a record of 11-7. No. 4 Georgetown won the regatta on a tiebreaker over No. 7 Boston College as both teams finished with a record of 15-6. No. 5 Stanford finished third with a record of 14-7 and No. 9 Hobart William Smith finished fourth with a record of 13-8. Because the Bulldogs just missed out on the final four round robin, they did not sail as many races as the top four teams.

Saturday's results bode well for the Bulldogs' spring in team racing regattas but Sunday's struggles will send them back to the drawing board with things to work on. Team racing is extremely mental and requires many hours on the water to perfect, which will help the Bulldogs as the season progresses. Clearly the Bulldogs have a solid base to work from and they will benefit from practice everyday which will begin once the team returns to campus in a week.

For now the Bulldogs will take a brief break from team racing. After a much needed four days off, many of the Bulldogs will return to Annapolis, Md., to practice at the Naval Academy on Friday before competing at the four-division Truxton Umstead Intersectional March 17 and 18. Another team of Bulldogs will compete at the three-division Veitor Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity