October 7, 2012

Regatta Completed In One Day, Bulldogs Finish Second

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – After 16 races in just one day, the No. 1 Yale women's team finished second overall at the Navy Women's Fall Intersectional.  The regatta took place this past weekend and was hosted by the Naval Academy.  It was originally intended to be a two-day event, however, the Sunday forecast was bleak and Saturday brought strong breeze so the race committee made a successful push to complete the regatta on day one. 

With its abundant fleet of boats, the Naval Academy was able to race the three competing divisions at the same time and complete 16 races in all of them.  A division started in FJs, B division started in 420s, and then the two divisions switched fleets after race 8.  C division sailed laser radials the entire time. 

In the early races of Saturday, the wind was less than 10 knots from the northwest and the race course had to be positioned at the mouth of the Annapolis Harbor alongside the U.S. Boat Show, which was happening concurrently.  Races one through four were sailed on what the race committee called a "compressed trapezoid" course.  Legs of this course were reconfigured to fit into the limited space available.  According to junior crew Amanda Salvesen, sailing in the morning's light and choppy conditions was a "huge pain." 

However, the wind eventually shifted to the west and increased, allowing the race committee to move the race course farther out into the Severn River and setup a "standard trapezoid" away from the boat show.  Eventually they had to return to the compressed version after the wind shifted back, but fortunately the wind increased in strength throughout the day.

Senior skipper Claire Dennis and sophomore crew Kate Gaumond raced in A division for the Bulldogs and had a strong second-place finish.  They struggled a little in the early, light and lumpy conditions, but as the breeze improved, so did their scores.  First, first, second and first were their finishes in the last four races of the regatta. 

In B division, Salvesen sailed with senior skipper Emily Billing.  This duo sailed consistently all day long and would have won their division by a significant margin had they not been disqualified in the last race.  The 'DSQ' resulted from a protest filed by the St. Mary's Seahawks who won the event.  Billing and Salvesen were charged with not giving the Seahawks "room to tack" when they requested it at the finish.    

"We felt really bad," said Salvesen, "because it wasn't really her fault, we just couldn't hear her over the wind." 

Ultimately, the disqualification had no effect on Yale's overall finish in the regatta, but it bumped Billing and Salvesen back to third in B division, just four points out of first. 

Finally, sophomore skipper Urska Kosir battled to a fourth-place finish in the C-division, radial fleet.  Kosir, who sailed laser 4.7s before college due to her smaller size, had her work cut out for her in the radial on Saturday when it was windy.  Nonetheless, she was able to out-hike most of the other sailors in the fleet.

Although it meant a long, tiring day on the water, the Bulldogs were happy to finish the regatta on Saturday because it allowed them to leave Annapolis early on Sunday and return to campus before dinner.  Next weekend they won't have to drive nearly as far though, because the competition will be coming to them.  The Yale Bulldogs will host next weekend's major women's intersectional in their fleet of 420s stationed out in Branford, Conn. 

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity