No. 3 Bulldogs Sail For Nationals Berth

Joseph Morris and Heather May (Photo by Rob Migliaccio).

Bulldogs Head South to Maryland

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Classes are finished and exams are complete but the No. 3 Yale coed sailing team still has work to do. The Bulldogs will head to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., for the ICSA National Semifinal Championships the weekend, the last stop on the trip to the National Championships in Austin, Texas June 6-8.

After a week off to focus on their academic pursuits, the Bulldogs are focusing on shaking off any fleet-racing rust as well as fine-tuning any weaknesses at practice this week. The Bulldogs' brief break from sailing has allowed them to attack practice with extra vigor and they have fully embraced the return to the water after the mental stress of exams. The Bulldogs have not been fazed by the inclement weather this week, hitting the water in sun and showers as well as varying levels of breeze. With academic work completed for the year, the Bulldogs can donate all of their time to eating, sleeping and sailing. 

Last year, the Bulldogs finished second at the Western Semifinal Championships, a mere point behind winner Boston College. This year the Bulldogs are poised to have another strong finish following their solid third place at the New England Dinghy Championships, the qualifier for the Semifinals.

The 36 teams that qualified for the National Semifinals are divided into two groups of 18 based on their finishes in their district qualifiers. The Bulldogs were placed into the Western Semifinal with regional foes No. 5 Boston College, No. 10 Tufts, and No. 11 Harvard. They will also face strong teams from outside New England including No. 9 St. Mary's College of Maryland, No. 13 University of Wisconsin, No. 14 Navy, No. 16 University of Miami, and No. 18 New York Maritime, as well as nine other unranked teams.

Navy has two full fleets of boats, one FJ fleet and one 420 fleet, which usually allows both divisions to be out on the water at the same time. However, Navy will be hosting both the Eastern and Western Semifinals this weekend, which means each regatta will sail in one fleet of boats. The Bulldogs will sail FJs on Saturday and 420s on Sunday. While sailing in one fleet may mean that the Bulldogs will not complete as many races, off sets allow the sailors to get more coaching and further assess the conditions. It allows for mental breaks during a taxing weekend.
 
After a disappointing weekend at the New England Team Race Championships, the Bulldogs are completely focused on fleet racing and are gunning to be on top at the end of the season, but first they will have to secure a spot at Nationals. The top nine finishers in the two semifinals will fill out the 18-boat fleet at the ICSA National Dinghy Championships, which will take place on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas June 6-8.

The Bulldogs have plenty of experience sailing at Navy and have found recent success. They won both the Navy Fall Intersectional and the Truxton Umstead Intersectional this year. Clearly, the Bulldogs are comfortable with the venue and the boats and will look to continue their success in Annapolis this weekend. Report time is 9:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity

 
 

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