No. 9 Bulldogs Start the Season With Last Second Snatch

Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Chris Love, Sailgroove)
Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Chris Love, Sailgroove)

Yale Finishes Second On the Charles

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The No. 9 Bulldogs took to the Charles River with a vengeance and never looked back, finishing second by beating out Coast Guard in the last race. The regatta was hosted by MIT and was sailed in the MIT and Harvard FJs, allowing for lots of racing, which was the perfect way to launch the Bulldogs into the long season.

The regatta is in honor of Toni Deutsch, MIT class of 1958, who was the first woman to receive a varsity letter at MIT. She sailed all four years under the tutelage of Jack Wood and claimed two national championships as well as finishing runner-up once. The regatta report released by MIT called her "an outstanding athlete who has devoted herself to providing opportunities for current MIT students."

On Saturday, the breeze ranged from five to eight knots and moved from northeast to south-southeast by the end of the day as often occurs on the Charles River. While the Bulldogs faced some ups and downs, they were able to stay remarkably consistent which is crucial to doing well on the Charles. The great river Chuck can make score lines look like someone just picked random numbers out of a hat and recorded them as finishes. With fluky conditions, many sailors struggle to establish a pattern of top finishes. However, the Bulldogs battled through and stayed steady and patient throughout the 12 races.

On Sunday, the breeze picked up a bit, ranging from eight to twelve and oscillating from east-northeast to east-southeast. Despite only requiring two races to finish the regatta, the sailors opted on Saturday to sail four races in each division. As is often the case at MIT, the courses got a bit creative with what was deemed the "triple gate special." Besides the normal windward and leeward gates, the sailors also had a midcourse gate on both the upwind and downwind legs. This allowed for a greater display of boat handling as well as lane management.

Sophomore Heather May said, "The Charles never failed to surprise us this weekend. Auto-tacks and multiple sudden shifts were prevalent in every race. However Sunday, the wind grew a little more consistent and the wind picked up by a few knots. Sunday definitely provided more opportunities to make gains on the downwind legs, and also upwind if you were able to find the pockets of pressure."

In A division, sophomores Claire Dennis and May, rookies no longer, proved just that finishing third in a competitive fleet. Their worst finish was eighth and they managed to sail across the line in the top-five in nine of the 16 races. They clinched the second place finish for the Bulldogs by just beating out Coast Guard's A division in the last race of the regatta. This solid finish is an excellent starting point for their 2010-2011 campaign.

In B division, juniors Genoa Warner and Stephanie Schuyler battled a bit of inconsistency in the first two sets before settling into a pattern of superb finishes. They finished in the top-five in 11 of 16 races and won the eighth race of the regatta. Building on experience gained together in the spring as well as this summer, the pair is primed to have an outstanding season.

No. 2 Brown took the regatta with a decisive winning, proving their strength to the college sailing world. No. 15 Coast Guard finished third with No. 13 Eckerd, No. 7 Tufts, No. 11 Connecticut College and No. 6 Harvard rounding out the top seven. 

"All in all, this regatta was a great way to start off the season, and all four of us are eager to see how the rest of the season pans out. I think we are all excited about our 2nd place finish and are motivated to keep working towards even better finishes in the future," said May.

The Bulldogs will return to the water this coming weekend at the Mrs. Hurst's Bowl hosted by Dartmouth. It will be the first intersectional competition for the Bulldogs, which will allow them to prove to the coaches across the ICSA that they deserve to have a better ranking.

Full Results

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity