CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Until this weekend, the No.3 Yale women's sailing team had yet to finish outside of the top five in any regatta this season. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were not so successful this weekend at the Emily Wick Trophy. They finished 10th out of 17 teams at the regatta, which was hosted by the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. With the Women's New England Championship just one week away, Yale sailing fans are hoping that this regatta was just the team's chance to get out all of the bad before their national championship qualifier.
Utilizing their two full fleets of boats, one of FJs and one of 420s, the Coast Guard Academy was able to complete a full rotation of 17 races in both divisions. 10 of those races were completed on Saturday with A division sailing FJs and B division sailing 420s. On Sunday, the divisions switched fleets for the final seven races.
Winds from the west-southwest made for very challenging racing conditions all weekend. From that direction the puffs and shifts are difficult to read as they drop on to the course from the campus shore. Such offshore conditions were very different from the steady southerly "sea breeze" that the Bulldogs practiced in for most of the week leading up to the Wick Trophy.
Both of Yale's boats proved that they were capable of top five finishes, but double-digit scores overshadowed the team's moments of success. Junior skipper Emily Billing and sophomore crew Amanda Salvesen actually won four out of the 17 races in B division, however, they also finished behind mid-fleet in eight races. Other teams also struggled though, and Billing and Salvesen ultimately finished fifth in B division.
While she says that she "was able to sail pretty normally," Salvesen competed this weekend with a hand injury, which she incurred during an accidental collision at sailing practice on Friday. That unfortunate event was just the beginning of a tough weekend for the Bulldogs.
At this point though, there is no time to dwell on one poor performance. The Bulldogs' performance next weekend at the New England district's national championship qualifier will determine whether or not their season continues. Considering the fact that the Yale women's sailing team has been ranked top three in the nation since September, if it gets back to racing like it was before this last weekend then qualification should be no problem.
The top three teams at the New England Championship will earn themselves an automatic berth at the 2012 Nationals while the fourth through eighth place finishers will move on to the ICSA Semifinals, a second-round qualifying regatta.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity