April 2, 2012

No. 1 Bulldogs Continue Winning Ways

Bulldogs Capture Southern New England Team Race 

NEW LONDON, Conn.—Despite coming off two weeks of fleet racing regattas, the No. 1 Yale coed sailing team displayed well oiled team racing gears, taking the win at the Southern New England Team Race hosted by Connecticut College on the Thames River. The Bulldogs also finished third at the Mystic Lake Team Race and fifth at the Boston University Trophy.

The Bulldogs brought a two-week winning streak into this weekend, but they had yet to capture a team race regatta. While they had a good first day at the St. Mary's Team Race three weeks ago, Sunday did not go as planned. With that in mind, they were careful to remain focused and calm throughout racing over the two days.

Saturday brought somewhat spotty breeze to the Thames. However, it was enough to allow each team to complete eleven races, completing a round robin. The Bulldogs went on a tear, winning 10 of the 11 races, putting them in first headed into day two. 

Sunday was even lighter causing wind holds. The twelve teams were split into the top-six and bottom-six. Each half conducted a round robin, sailing five more races. The Bulldogs had another strong day with a record of 3-2, bringing their combined record to 13-3, two wins ahead of Charleston and Hobart William Smith who finished with a record of 11-5.   

The Bulldogs were anchored by skippers junior captain Cameron Cullman, senior Joseph Morris and sophomore Chris Segerblom. Crews freshman Katherine Gaumond, junior Heather May and senior Genoa Warner provided immense support in the shifty and spotty conditions.

The win demonstrated that the Bulldogs are achieving more consistent success. While they were highly ranked in team racing going into the season, they dropped back after their inconsistent weekend at St. Mary's. Winning against almost all of the top teams in the country will certainly boost their ranking and place them firmly in the conversation about who is the top team racing team in the country.

The Bulldogs also competed at the Mystic Lake Team Race hosted by Tufts in Medford, Mass. The Bulldogs faced rapidly changing conditions throughout the weekend with breeze ranging from one to nine knots. Saturday provided more consistent breeze than expected, stabilizing throughout the day. After the completion of one round robin, nine races for each team, the race committee decided to call it quits for Saturday despite the fact that it was before 4:00 p.m. and the breeze was some of the best of the day.

With a record of 7-2 the Bulldogs were in third going into Sunday, allowing for a late report time of 12:00 p.m. as the bottom six teams sailed for a spot in the final six. The Bulldogs sailed their final five races in extremely up and down breeze. One moment sailors would be hiking and the next they would find themselves dead stopped in the middle of the course, waiting for the breeze to come back in. 

The Bulldogs finished the weekend with a record of 10-4, holding on to their third place ranking. Skippers junior Claire Dennis, freshman Graham Landy and sophomore Max Nickbarg and crews senior Margot Benedict, sophomore Anna Han and freshman Urska Kosir sailed for the Bulldogs while sophomore Will Feldman provided great support off the water.

A third team of Bulldogs sailed nearby on the Charles River at the Boston University Trophy. As is always the case on the Charles, particularly where Boston University sails, conditions were puffy and shifty. Breeze ranged from six to ten knots on Saturday but barely appeared on Sunday, allowing for only the final two races to be completed in B division. 

The Bulldogs team of skippers junior Emily Billing and senior Rob Struckett and crews Amanda Salvesen and Sarah Smith both finished sixth in their divisions leading to the overall fifth-place finish.

Next weekend the Bulldogs will look to continue their winning streak at the Marchiando Friis Team Race hosted at Tufts and MIT as well as at the Admiral Alymers Trophy at Massachusetts Maritime. 

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity