March 18, 2012

No. 2 Bulldogs Win Despite Lack of Breeze

Bulldogs Claim Victory at Truxtun Umsted

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The No. 2 Yale coed sailing team captured the prestigious Truxtun Umsted Intersectional at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. by a whopping 28 points, demonstrating their depth and adaptability despite the light breeze. Another team of Bulldogs finished a close fifth at the tightly contested Veitor Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.

The Truxtun Umsted Intersectional is a must-see for any college sailing fan. With twenty competitive teams and four fleets of boats, the "Trux" is arguably the most competitive regular-season regatta of the spring. The Bulldogs were favored going into the event as they won the Navy Fall Intersectional which is the same four division format. Despite the pressure, the Bulldogs were able to handily capture the regatta.

The weather throughout the weekend was a complete one hundred and eighty degrees from last year. Rather than having to bundle up in all the layers they owned, the Bulldogs were greeted with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60s. While the temperature was right, the winds were not as they barely came out to play which made every race that much more important. An easterly breeze of three to five knots came out on Saturday morning, which allowed for four races in each of the four divisions. Sunday provided even calmer conditions with a very slight breeze of just over three knots appearing around 2:00 p.m. allowing for two more races in each division.

Seniors skipper Joseph Morris and crew Isabel Elliman were able to remain remarkably consistent over the six races, winning A division by seven points. The victory was especially sweet for Morris who grew up sailing in Annapolis and watching the Trux regatta each spring. They won the first race and did not finish outside of the top four.

Sophomore skipper Chris Segerblom and freshman crew Katherine Gaumond struggled a bit with consistency finishing 10th in B division, losing a tie-breaker to Navy but winning the tie-breaker over Charleston. They finished with two top-fives.

Junior Cameron Cullman once again demonstrated his prowess in the Laser class, handily winning the singlehanded C division by 12 points. He won four of the six races, including the first three races of the regatta, with a high finish of seventh. 

Junior Claire Dennis finished with a strong last race to capture fourth-place in D division in the laser radial. She was able to best all of the females in the field and remained within the top-ten in all six races. 

The Bulldogs have not won the Truxtun Umsted Intersectional in the 21st century, despite having strong singlehanded sailors. One thing or another has always come up to get in the way of the victory so the win this weekend was particularly sweet. It also bodes well for the Bulldogs later in the spring, as the Semifinal Championships will be hosted by the Naval Academy.

Another team of Bulldogs faced confounding conditions on the Thames River in New London, Conn., at the Veitor Trophy. The Bulldogs were particularly hungry for the win because the regatta honors the Veitor family who went to Yale and helped buy the land and build the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club. The Bulldogs have not won the regatta in a very long time and were hoping to once again claim the victory.

After a day of shifty sailing with interesting current on Saturday, the Bulldogs stood in first, only a few points ahead of the next five teams. Despite the three-division format, the regatta remained incredibly close through all of the 13 races. The Bulldogs found themselves on the wrong side of some very whacky shifts on Sunday, which pushed them back to fifth. The Bulldogs were a mere four points out of second, a frustrating end to the weekend.

Freshman skipper Graham Landy and senior crew Margot Benedict finished second in A division with four wins. Sophomore skipper Max Nickbarg and senior crew Genoa Warner finished seventh in B division with a strong last two sets to move up the standings. Senior skipper Rob Struckett and freshman crew Sarah Smith placed third in C division with one win and numerous top-five finishes.

The Bulldogs will return to the McNay Family Sailing Center for the first consistent week of practice in Branford after being on the road all of spring break. After a week of sailing at Short Beach, the Bulldogs will have a very busy weekend. They will host the Owen, Mosbacher and Knapp trophies, which serves as the ivy league sailing championship, and will travel to the Boston Dinghy Cup at MIT and the first southern series of the year at Salve Regina.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity