October 21, 2012

No. 1 Bulldogs Finish Third

The Bulldogs Officially Maintained Top-Three Finishes All Season Long

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 1 Yale women's sailing team finished third overall at the Stu Nelson trophy this past weekend.  The regatta was hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and sailed on the Charles River in MIT's fleets of FJs and fireflies. 

Fireflies are two-person dinghies that are similar to FJs at first glance, but they have masts and foils that behave very differently.  MIT is the only school in the United States with a fleet of fireflies, but they are the primary dinghies used by sailing schools in Britain. 

On Saturday of the Stu Nelson Trophy, A division started in FJs and B division started in the fireflies.  The wind started off from the south, which is an especially shifty and challenging direction.  It shifted west a little throughout the day, but never to the point of maximum fetch when it blows parallel to the river.  Therefore, competitors were faced with hard-to-read shifts all day.   

Yale's A division sailors, senior skipper Claire Dennis and sophomore crew Kate Gaumond, struggled to get in tune with the shifts for most of Saturday.  However, their results improved drastically after A division switched from FJs into fireflies.  Prior to race nine, Dennis and Gaumond only finished inside of the top 10 once.  After race nine, they only finished outside of the top five once.

Although switching types of boats seems to have made the difference, Gaumond attributed their turn-around to the fact that they "were more patient" later on in the regatta.

"There was a lot noise between shifts," she said, "but we did a better job later on of identifying the difference between noise and actual shifts."

By "noise" she meant small fluctuations in the wind direction that were not representative of the bigger, important shifts. 

Ultimately, Dennis and Gaumond finished third place in A division.

In B division, senior skipper Emily Billing and junior crew Amanda Salvesen had slightly more consistent results throughout all eighteen races.  They had ten top-three finishes and only finished outside of the top ten three times.  They tied for second in B division with Dartmouth, but won the tie-breaker by having more first-place finishes. 

The Bulldogs finished just ahead of No. 7 Dartmouth in the overall regatta standings.  No. 9 Tufts took second place and No. 5 Boston College won the event. 

This was the last regatta of the regular season for the Bulldogs.  Next weekend they will race at the Victoria Urn Trophy which is the New England district's qualifier for the Atlantic Coast Championship.  If they qualify, the Bulldogs will sail until the Atlantic Coast Championship, three weeks from now. 

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity