Barrows Places Fifth at Singlehanded National Championship

Thomas Barrows.
Thomas Barrows.

Oct. 26, 2008

ICSA/LaserPeformance Men's Singlehanded National Championship Results
Hoyt Trophy Results
Oberg Trophy Results

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Junior captain Thomas Barrows turned in a fifth-place performance at the ICSA/LaserPerformance Men's Singlehanded National Championship held Friday through Sunday in Lasers at Cornell. The No. 6 Bulldog coed sailing team also competed at the Hoyt and Oberg Trophies in doublehanded competition.

Barrows, who won the singlehanded national championship in 2007 and was an Olympian representing the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Laser class this summer, placed fifth in a tightly decided regatta. Over the 18 race regatta, Barrows scored 105 points, only 30 points from the first and second place finishers who had the same number of points. Cy Thompson from Roger Williams, a high school teammate of Barrows' at Antilles School in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, won the championship with 75 points, the same number of points as Kyle Rogachenko from Old Dominion. The regatta featured strong wind on Friday and moderate wind on Saturday and Sunday.

Barrows turned in solid races throughout much of the event, but was tripped up by a number of tough performances. Of the 18 races completed at the regatta, Barrows placed in the top five in seven of them, including wins in two of the races. Barrows will have an opportunity to recapture his national championship crown again as a senior.

The Bulldogs also put in a strong performance at the Hoyt Trophy in 420s, which featured 14 of the top 20 teams nationally. The Bulldogs finished the regatta in 10th place, an improvement on the 11th place finish in 2007. Saturday featured strong winds, which built as the day went on to create extremely windy conditions with sharp chop by the end of the day. The wind was so strong by the final races of the day that some teams luffed both the main and the jibs on the upwind legs because they were so overpowered. Sunday was completely opposite, with consistently light breeze that was combined with current.

Leading the team was the fourth-place finish in A Division by freshman skipper Joseph Morris and crews juniors Michael Hession and John Vrolyk and senior Grace Becton. Morris sailed with Hession during the initial windy races on Saturday, before switching to Vrolyk in the final two races of Saturday, which were the windiest. Becton sailed with Morris in the lighter wind on Sunday.

In the 11 race regatta, Morris and crews finished in the top five five times with a best performance of second place. The A Division team only finished outside the top half three times during the regatta. With a 76 point total, Morris was within eight points of third place.

In B Division, freshman Cameron Cullman and crews Hession and Adriane Levin placed 14th with 125 points. The A Division trio was hurt by a number of over early starts that forced them to go back to the starting line and get worse starts than many of the other teams. Cullman, Levin and Hession had a best performance of fourth.

Morris was pleased with his performance and was quick to credit his crews who played a key part of his success in the windy races on Saturday.

"We had really good downwind boat speed and I was pretty happy with the way that I started, something I have been working on a lot lately," Morris said. "Michael deserves a medal for his key performance on Saturday. He worked incredibly hard in every race and I have never seen someone hike so hard on the upwinds and then work the boat so well on the downwinds. It was critical to sail well on the downwinds because the boats got a lot of water in them and if the bow got past horizontal, the water would rush to the bow, which would dig into the water."

The team also competed at the Oberg Trophy hosted by MIT on the Charles River in FJs and Techs. The regatta, which featured three divisions of sailing, moved quickly through the races because of the two divisions of boats. The Tech dinghy, which was designed in the 1930s at MIT before taking its present form in the 1950s, is a unique dinghy in college sailing as it is sailed with two crew members but has only one sail. Both Saturday and Sunday featured puffy, shifty winds that made consistency very tough to achieve. The Bulldogs ended the regatta in eighth place overall, which is their best performance at the event since 2001, when the team placed seventh. The regatta has only been a two-day event since 2006.

The A Division duo of senior Caleb Dorfman and sophomore Alexa Chu battled the shifty winds to lead the Bulldogs with a fourth-place finish with 115 points over the 17 races. The duo placed in the top five eight times during the regatta and were only outside the top half of competitors five times. Dorfman and Chu won two races and placed third in four races.

In B Division, freshmen Rob Struckett and Margot Benedict placed 12th with 170 points. The duo had a best finish of third.

In C Division, freshmen Genoa Warner and Ana Pedrajo placed seventh with 133 points. The team placed in the top five boats six times during the event. Warner and Pedrajo won one race and placed second in another race.

Warner was overall pleased with her performance, but found sailing two types of boats and switching boat types every two races made finding a rhythm tough.

"I think that the event went pretty well overall, but I was personally inconsistent and switching boats made it hard to switch modes," Warner said. "I think that we did well as a team. I was able to figure out where I wanted to be on the course and get there, which was good. You had to be able to look ahead in the race and plan where you wanted to be on the course because of the puffs."

The Bulldogs are next in competition at the Schell Trophy, which is the fall New England Championship hosted by MIT, on Saturday and Sunday. The Bulldogs will also compete at the Freshmen New England Championships for the Nickerson Trophy on Saturday and Sunday.

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity