October 18, 2010

No.3 Bulldogs Tame Blasting Breeze to Take Home the Win

Bulldogs Capitalize on Home Waters

BRANFORD, Conn.—The wind may have howled all weekend long but it could not stop the Bulldogs from claiming the victory at the Yale Women's Intersectional for the second year in a row. Unlike other teams, the Bulldogs were able to stay relatively consistent which earned them the victory with only eight races in each division due to the abundance of wind.

As forecasted, Saturday was extremely blustery with breeze from ten to 30 knots. The sailors headed out at 10:00 a.m. but were forced to return to shore due to dangerous conditions created by the tempestuous breezes. Finally, at 2:45 p.m., the breeze calmed a bit allowing for four A division races and two B division races. Wind came from the North and Northwest with plenty of substantial puffs that caused a multitude of capsizes across the course.

Sophomore Heather May commented, "Saturday was less about tactics and more about working the boat and finding the sheers of wind that would come down certain sides of the course."

The wind was a bit less flustered on Sunday but was still in the upward range of sailable conditions allowing for four more races in A division and six in B division. The Long Island Sound provided relatively even wind across the course as well as the added bonus of three to five foot waves. The Bulldogs have more practice surfing waves downwind than most teams, allowing them to use the rollers to pass boats and nip them at the finish.

Because there were only 17 teams entered, the Bulldogs were able to sail two teams of girls, allowing all of them the experience of sailing at home and against top competition.

In A division for the winning Yale A team, May and sophomore Claire Dennis finished fourth, only nine points out of second. They were remarkably consistent with a high finish of eighth, five top-five finishes and a win in race seven.

Dennis and May discovered the added importance of skipper-crew communication when the wind picks up. May said, "When there is so much wind, every little move tactically and physically becomes much easier to carry out if both the skipper and crew are on the same page and working the boat together as one unit."

Freshmen Marlena Fauer and Eugenia Custo Grieg took the win in B division for the Yale A team. They won two races and finished in the top five in six of the races, proving they are fast in all types of breeze.

The Yale B team A division consisted of juniors Genoa Warner and Stephanie Schuyler and freshman Madeline Yozwiak who was put in for the biggest breeze of the weekend. They finished 15th in the division.

Sophomores Emily Billing and Senem Cilingiroglu finished sixth in B division in their first regatta together. They had five top-five finishes, including a win in the sixth race.

The Bulldogs were extremely excited about both teams' strong finishes. Yale Women's holds a special place in all of their hearts and it is thrilling to claim the victory for the second year in a row.

May used the weekend as a reflection on how the team is developing. She said, "I think our best quality as a team is consistency; both our A division and B division sailed very consistently and I think that's what was a large contribution to our win, especially when mother nature gave us such challenging weather conditions to work with over the weekend."

No. 1 Brown finished second, five points behind the Bulldogs, with No. 2 Boston College finishing third. No. 4 St. Mary's and an impressive team from unranked University of Rhode Island rounded out the top five.

Next weekend the Bulldogs will remain in Connecticut for the Stu Nelson Trophy hosted by Connecticut College in New London.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity