No. 4 Bulldogs Snag Last New England Berth for the Team Race National Championship

Sarah Lihan and Claire Dennis.

Bulldogs Finish Third at Fowle Trophy

NEWPORT, R.I.- The No. 4 Bulldogs remained remarkably consistent throughout the three rounds, remaining just above .500 in each, to beat out Roger Williams for the third and final qualifying spot for the Team Race National Championship in Madison, Wisc. May 29-31.

Saturday brought breeze from the southwest of three to 12 knots. The Bulldogs sailed one round robin of five races against a deep group consisting of Boston College, Harvard, Vermont, Dartmouth and URI. Yale finished off the day with a record of 3-2, with wins against Vermont, Dartmouth and URI.

Sunday brought what senior Sarah Lihan dubbed as “nuclear” winds. With a steady northwesterly ranging from 15 to 25 knots, the Bulldogs subbed in the heaviest team of the season. Lihan, who sailed with junior Elizabeth Brim on Saturday, sailed the first four races with freshman Claire Dennis. A skipper all her life, Dennis crewed in a regatta for the first time in her sailing career. When the breeze let up a bit, senior Marla Menninger went in for Dennis. Senior Thomas Barrows sailed with senior Michael Hession who subbed in for junior Blair Belling. Sophomore Joseph Morris sailed with Menninger Saturday before subbing in for the larger Rafael Fernandez, a freshman. While big breeze forces the Bulldogs to go with heavier combinations, Sunday's duos were heftier than usual indicating the immensity of the wind.

The top four teams in each group from Saturday sailed in the gold round robin on Sunday. The Bulldogs finished the round with a record of 4-3. With more time, a round robin with all eight teams would have been sailed but with time being a finite commodity, the race committee elected to complete a round robin of the top six teams to determine the top-three finishers.

In the final six round robin the Bulldogs sailed against Boston College, Tufts, Roger Williams, Brown and Boston University. The Bulldogs finished with a 3-2 record with wins against Boston College, Boston University, and Roger Williams, which would become one of the most important races in the regatta.

Both Yale and Roger Williams finished with a record of 7-5 after the gold round and the final six, tying them for the last qualifying spot for Nationals. However, Yale beat Roger Williams in both rounds, sending them to Wisconsin while Roger Williams will remain at home for three extra days at the end of May. Boston College won the regatta and Tufts nabbed the second berth.

In 19 days, the Bulldogs will take to the waters of Lake Mendota on the edge of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to battle the fourteen best teams in college sailing for the Team Race National Championship. Until then, the Bulldogs will spend some quality time on the water, which will expand as exams draw to a close. The road to Wisco is now clear-cut as only the Team Race National Championship and National Dinghy Championship remain on the Bulldog's 2009-2010 schedule.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity