Racers Cope With Frozen Fall Conditions
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Despite freezing temperatures and snowstorms, the New England college sailing district was able to complete its first women's intersectional regatta in three weekends. Good thing too because the Victorian Coffee Urn, hosted by Harvard this past weekend, was the qualifying event for the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship (ACCs). The top seven teams from the Urn will move on to race in the ACC's at the New York Maritime Academy two weeks from now. The No. 1 Yale women's sailing team secured themselves one of those seven spots by finishing fifth overall this weekend.
Racing on the Charles River was close all weekend. After 12 races in both A and B division, the Bulldogs ended up just one point behind the fourth-place Brown Bears and three behind the third-place Connecticut College Camels. A mere point separated the second-place University of Rhode Island Rams from the victorious Dartmouth Big Green.
Conditions were challenging for the racers who, in addition to enduring temperatures in the 30s and hail storms late Saturday afternoon, had to navigate the radical wind shifts and changes in pressure that the Charles River threw their way. Zack Leonard, Yale's McNay Family Director of Sailing and varsity head coach, remarked that the regatta was a "great chance for [the team] to practice a type of sailing that we don't get to do so frequently." The experience made him and some of the team members realize that they could actually be more resourceful in their practices back at Yale if only they took better advantage of the days that offer unstable offshore winds.
Nonetheless, Leonard expressed that he was "very impressed" with the team's overall performance. He specifically commended the results of Yale's B division boat which was sailed by junior skipper Emily Billing and sophomore crew Amanda Salvesen. Billing and Salvesen took second place in their division after finishing outside of the top ten in only one of the 12 individual races. Sophomore skipper Marlena Fauer and sophomore crew Eugenia Custo Greig, in the words of coach Leonard, also "showed a strong understanding of the race course and the ability to execute" with top-five finishes in four out of the six races they sailed in A division.
The Bulldogs went to Cambridge and did what they needed to do to qualify for the ACCs. Now they have only two weeks left of practice for the fall, but the two biggest regattas of the season have yet to be raced. Next weekend juniors Claire Dennis and Emily Billing will travel to Chicago, Ill., for the ICSA Women's Singlehanded National Championship. The Bulldogs will be looking to defend their title at that event after Dennis won it last year. Then, the following weekend the team will travel to New York for the ACCs. That regatta will mark the end of the fall season for the perpetually No. 1 ranked Bulldogs.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity