April 17, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 3 Bulldog coed sailing team will begin its road to the ICSA Coed Dinghy National Championships this weekend by competing at the New England Dinghy Championships for the Coast Guard Alumni Bowl. The regatta, which will be hosted by No. 1 Boston College, will feature all the top competition in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA) and is the qualifying regatta for the ICSA Dinghy Semifinals that will take place May 2-3.
The role of the New England Dinghy Championships as the qualifying event for the ICSA Dinghy Semifinals is new. Prior to last season, each team in the seven conferences of the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) had to qualify for the National Championships through their conference championships by placing well at the regatta, which for the Bulldogs, was the New England Dinghy Championships. If the team failed to place in the top four teams at the Championships, the team would not qualify for the National Championships unless the team received one of two at large berths. The result was that many teams from weaker districts would qualify for the National Championships while teams from historically strong districts, such as NEISA, would miss out on qualifying for Nationals.
Now, the New England Championships simply functions as a qualifying event for the National Semifinals. The top eight teams at the New England Dinghy Championships this weekend will qualify to compete at the National Semifinals, which will be hosted on the Boston waterfront on May 2-3. There will be two National Semifinals, each of which will feature 18 teams, with the top nine teams, regardless of conference, qualifying for the ICSA National Dinghy Championships.
Last year, the New England Championships featured tricky conditions, but the Bulldogs still pulled off qualifying for the National Semifinals in a strong fashion. The Eli sailors placed fourth at the event last year, earning them a spot in the National Semifinal that was hosted by USC at the US Sailing Center-Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif., where the team took second to qualify for the ICSA Dinghy National Championships. Of the teams ranked in the top 20 nationally, nine will be in competition at the New England Dinghy Championships, so the Bulldogs will have to face tough competition to qualify for the National Semifinals.
Experience should be on the team's side. Junior captain Thomas Barrows took fifth in B division at the event, but will move up to compete in A division this year. The team will compete in one division of 420s and one division of FJs at Boston College's venue in Dorchester, Mass.
The team will also compete at the 70th Oberg Trophy hosted by MIT. The regatta, which will be hosted on the Charles River, will be sailed in FJs and Techs. The team took eighth at the regatta in 2008.
A team of Bulldogs will also compete at Southern Series Five hosted by Roger Williams in FJs. The Bulldogs did not compete at the event last year, but took fourth in Southern Series Five in 2007, when the regatta was hosted by Rhode Island.
Racing will take place on both Saturday and Sunday at the New England Championships and the Oberg Trophy while the Southern Series event will only take place on Saturday. Racing will begin at 9:30 a.m. at each venue.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity