A Full Team Effort Qualifies the Bulldogs for Nationals

420s racing downwind at the 2012 St. Mary's Women's Interconference Regatta
420s racing downwind at the 2012 St. Mary's Women's Interconference Regatta

Second at the New England Championship Sends Yale Straight to the Big Dance

DORCHESTER, Mass. – By finishing second at the New England Championship this weekend, the No. 4 Yale women's sailing team earned itself a berth at the ICSA Women's National Championship, which is to take place in Austin, Texas, on May 31st through June 2nd.  While second place guarantees that the Bulldogs have a spot at the nationals, those teams that finished third through seventh at the New England Championship will have to race at a semifinal regatta on May 30th.  The top nine finishers at the semifinals will meet the Bulldogs and eight other prequalified teams on the national championship starting line on May 31st.    

Although the Boston College Eagles dominated the New England Championship on their home waters this weekend, the Bulldogs' performance was akin to their winning performance at the Atlantic Coast Championship in the fall.  In the just two-division regatta, all eight members of Yale's New England Championship roster made significant contributions to the team's final result.

Freshman skipper Morgan Kiss' wish that the team's player rotation would "go smoothly" came true.  All members of the team were able to transition well as they were moved from the sideline to the race course and back again numerous times.  As a result of their ability to maintain consistency in spite of change, the Bulldogs took second place in both A and B division. 

Captain Emily Billing said that the weekend "was just great since we all got to sail and sailed well."  "No drama," she added.   

Sophomore skipper Marlena Fauer and sophomore crew Eugenia Custo Greig started the weekend in A division for the Bulldogs.  In the eight races that they sailed on Saturday, Fauer and Custo Greig had five top-five finishes. 

At the end of the day on Saturday, junior skipper Claire Dennis and senior crew Margot Benedict took over in A division for races nine through twelve.  They finished three of those four races in the top five, including a race victory in race 10.

In B division on Saturday, the Bulldogs started an all-freshman boat made up of skipper Morgan Kiss and crew Urska Kosir.  After a slow start—two double-digit finishes to begin the regatta, Kiss and Kosir took first in race three and went on to win races four and six as well. 

After race six, junior skipper Emily Billing and sophomore crew Amanda Salvesen took the Bulldogs' B division reigns for a while.  This duo posted very consistent scores in the six remaining races on Saturday, winning two races of their own and finishing seventh in the only race that they were not top five. 

At the end of Saturday, 12 races had been completed in both divisions, leaving just five more to be completed per division on Sunday.  At that point the Boston College Eagles had built an astounding 56-point lead over the Bulldogs in second, while the Bulldogs led the Brown University Bears by 16 points.  

After seeing a full range of wind conditions on Saturday, five knots and shifty to begin the day and puffs of 20 knots to end it, competitors returned to the New England Championship on Sunday to race in what ended up being a moderate eight to 12 knots for most of the day and slightly windier for the last race. 

The Bulldogs returned to their starting lineup for Sunday's racing, with the exception of Billing and Salvesen taking over B division again for the windier final race, which they won.  In fact, the Bulldogs closed out the weekend with three consecutive race wins in B division. 

After 17 races completed per division, the Yale Bulldogs finished second to this year's Reed Trophy (the name of the New England Championship perpetual) winners, the Boston College Eagles.  Led by last year's Quantum Women's College Sailor of the Year, senior skipper Anne Heager, the Eagles won by a comfortable 60-point margin.  However, the second-place Bulldogs extended themselves to a comfortable 44-point lead over the third-place Brown University Bears.  That gap ensured that Yale would not be bothered by semifinals qualifying round this season.  From now until June, the Bulldogs will be training hard to prepare for the nationals.    

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity