April 13, 2009

No. 3 Bulldogs Take Third at Marchiando-Friis Team Race

April 12, 2009

Marchiando-Friis Team Race Results
Admiral Alymers Trophy Results
Southern Series Four Results

Video footage of the Bulldogs (gray sails) against Roger Williams (yellow sails) in the finals (by sailgroove.org)
Video footage of the tie-breaker against St. Mary's (by sailgroove.org)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 3 Bulldog coed sailing team again performed strongly in team racing by taking third at the highly competitive Marchiando-Friis Team Racehosted by MIT and Tufts on Saturday and Sunday. The Bulldogs, who won the event in 2007 and 2008, had the most wins during the qualifying round of Saturday's competition. The Bulldogs also competed at the Admiral Alymers Trophy hosted by Massachusetts Maritime and at the Southern Series Four event hosted by Rhode Island.

The Bulldogs started off competition at the Marchiando-Friis Team Race on Saturday in a qualifying round of competition hosted by No. 17 MIT. The qualifying round included eight teams, the top four of which earned the right to compete in the final round that was hosted on Sunday at MIT. Another group of teams competed at No. 11 Tufts on Saturday, with the top four teams from that qualifying round also making it to Sunday's finals at MIT. The MIT venue, which is on the Charles River, featured sailing in FJs with colored sails and sailing on the U course during some of the races, which includes a downwind start, a reach leg and a final upwind leg. Most collegiate team race exclusively take place on the Digital N course, which includes an upwind leg, a reach leg, a downwind leg and a final upwind leg.

On Saturday, the Bulldogs raced in moderate wind conditions in a continual rain. The team performed strongly, sitting in first place in the MIT bracket after the conclusion of the preliminary round of competition with a 11-3 record. The team only lost to No. 4 St. Mary's and No. 12 Brown.

In Sunday's competition for the final championship, the Bulldogs were joined by No. 1 Boston College, No. 5 College of Charleston, No. 6 Roger Williams, No. 7 Harvard, Brown, St. Mary's and Tufts. The results of the races from the previous day against teams that the schools already faced carried over to Sunday's round, so the Bulldogs entered with losses to St. Mary's and Brown and a win over Roger Williams. In the first round of the finals, the Bulldogs picked up wins against Charleston, Harvard and Tufts, but dropped a race to Boston College.

The team's strong performance qualified them for a final four round of competition in which each school would race against each other school in the final four one time. The Bulldogs were joined in the finals by Boston College, Roger Williams and St. Mary's. The teams faced very strong winds that gusted into the 20-knot range during Sunday's competition, but the wind was not even across the course it came off of the land.

In the finals, the Bulldogs picked up a win against St. Mary's, but dropped races to eventual champion Boston College and Roger Williams. Still, the win in the finals against St. Mary's was the defining race as it allowed the team to advance to a tie-breaking race against St. Mary's. The Bulldogs won that race, allowing them to clinch third.

Junior captain Thomas Barrows, who sailed along with seniors Grace Becton and Adriane Levin, juniors Michael Hession, John Kempton and Marla Menninger and freshmen Cameron Cullman and Joseph Morris, was pleased with the overall result, but felt that the team can do better in the future.

"I feel that the regatta went pretty well, even though we lost a number of very close races," Barrows said. "It was really tough conditions, which made the racing pretty difficult. The races that we lost were in pretty bizarre conditions, but we should still have been able to win them. We had some trouble during the regatta with pinning the opponents during the passbacks as well as knowing when and where we needed to balance the pairs. It was good practice for us and everyone sailed well at times during the weekend, but we still made some mistakes that we can correct."

The competition at the Admiral Alymers Trophy in 420s also featured strong wind. On Saturday, the wind started out at between 12 and 14 knots, before building to a steady 20 knots with higher gusts, at which time racing was postponed for the day. Saturday featured major shifts along with minor, short-lived shifts that confused the sailors about the true nature of the wind. On Sunday, the wind was a more moderate 10 to 15 knots, with some larger puffs, but also large lulls. The wind was again shifty, but making racing even more erratic was the pin end of the line being heavily favored, so getting a good start was critical to success. The Bulldogs took seventh overall at the event with 139 points, losing sixth by only one point. This was an improvement on the team's 10th-place finish from 2008. The team of freshmen Rob Struckett and Stephanie Schuyler sailed strongly to take third in B division while senior Caleb Dorfman and sophomore Alexa Chu struggled to an eighth-place finish in A division.

The Bulldogs also sent a team to compete at the Southern Series Four event at Rhode Island, which took place on Saturday. The Bulldogs took third in the seven-team fleet, which raced in combined divisions. Freshmen Genoa Warner and Jared Shenson took third overall with 25 points while junior John Vrolyk and freshman Alexandra Kerr took 11th with 67 points.

Warner had an enjoyable time during the racing, but wished that more than seven races were completed before the regatta ended due to high winds.

"Although we only did seven races, the sailing was really good," Warner said. "The courses were very short, with the races averaging around 10 minutes and it was puffy and rained on us the whole time, but it was still fun sailing. I felt that we did well in the racing. I was able to read the course and know where I wanted to go on it and since there were so few boats near the front of the pack, I was able to use that information to get to the area of the course I wanted to be. Overall, it was good racing, but I wished that we got more races in before the regatta was cancelled."

The Bulldogs are next in action at the New England Dinghy Championships, the Oberg Trophy and Southern Series Five.

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity