Oct. 19, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 6 Bulldog coed sailing team competed across the east coast in three regattas, with a highlight of an eighth-place finish at the extremely competitive Navy Fall Intersectional hosted by Navy. The Bulldogs also competed at the Captain Hurst Bowl Intersectional at Dartmouth and the Great Herring Pond Open at Massachusetts Maritime.
The team's best performance was at the Navy Fall Intersectional. The regatta was sailed in four divisions, rather than the normal two divisions at regattas, putting a large premium on the depth of a team. A and B Divisions sailed doublehanded dinghies while C Division sailed the Laser and D Division sailed the Laser Radial. The Navy Fall Intersectional has historically been a strong event for the Bulldogs, who won the event in 2006 and 2007.
This year, the Bulldogs finished eighth with 678 points over the 20 races in each of the four divisions. The regatta was won by No. 2 St. Mary's College of Maryland with 563 points.
The Bulldogs were led by the A Division team of junior captain Thomas Barrows and crews junior Marla Menninger and sophomore Blair Belling. The trio finished third in A Division with 131 points. They won five races and finished 13 of the 20 races in the top five. The performance was hurt by a number of tough finishes, including one caused by a boat breakdown that was not given redress.
In C Division, Laser sailor freshman Cameron Cullman performed strongly for the Bulldogs by finishing fourth in his division with 132 points. He finished in the top five eight times during the regatta and only finished outside the top half in three of the 20 races.
In D Division, Laser Radial sailor Sarah Lihan finished 12th with 225 points. Lihan had a best finish of third.
Barrows, who won C Division at the event in 2007, was pleased with his performance.
"I think that we started well throughout the event and were only hurt by a few big mistakes," Barrows said. "I was pleased with the weekend."
The team also competed at the Captain Hurst Bowl Intersectional hosted by Dartmouth on Lake Mascoma and finished 10th with 213 points. No. 1 Boston College won with 97 points. The event was sailed in FJs. The competitors faced a number of trying conditions, which were frequently changing, including in the middle of races.
Lake Mascoma is known as a cold, shifty venue and this weekend was no exception. The lake sits in a valley between tree covered hills, which means that shifts can come off the hillside in an unexpected manner, with puffs showing up on the water without a predictable rhythm. The wind varied between 2 knots in the lulls to 14 knots in the puffs both days, with the wind varying all over the spectrum in each individual race. This made transitions especially critical for the competitors.
The Bulldogs were led by the duo of freshman Joseph Morris and senior Grace Becton with a sixth-place finish in A Division with 79 points, only one point out of fifth. Morris and Becton had a top finish of third.
For Morris, who sailed A Division for the first time in intersectional competition, the event was a good experience.
"I think that we had really good fleet management and improved with every race," Morris said. "I feel we have begun to get better at starts, first beat strategy and downwind starts. We still need to improve more on starting and downwind speed, though. This was my first time sailing A Division and it has a much deeper fleet and it is harder to come back from mistakes."
The Bulldogs also competed at the Great Herring Pond Open hosted by Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The Bulldogs placed 14th as a team. Racing was only conducted at the shifty Herring Pond venue on Saturday due to high wind on Sunday. Freshmen Genoa Warner and Jared Shenson sailed to a 14th-place finish in A Division while freshmen Rob Struckett, Margot Benedict and sophomore Andrew Kurzrok sailed to an eighth-place finish in B Division.
The Bulldogs next compete at the ICSA National Singlehanded Championships at Cornell on Friday thru Sunday, where Barrows will attempt to defend his title from 2007. The team will also compete at the Hoyt Trophy at Brown and the Oberg Trophy at MIT on Saturday and Sunday as well as hosting the Southern Series Six event at the McNay Family Sailing Center on Saturday.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity