Slow Opening to ICSA/APS Team Race Nationals
MADISON, Wisc. – The first day of team race nationals kept to a pattern that has predominated championship week here: show up early, wait for wind, get off a race or two, wait more. The Bulldogs were only able to complete the first round robin of the three-day event before nightfall cancelled racing. In six races, Yale accrued a 4-2 record, which will transfer them to the gold fleet.
Though debilitating calm has been the theme thus far, the Bulldogs have kept their eyes on the prize. To win the championship, the team must navigate through three rounds of competition. Earlier this week, teams were seeded into two groups for an initial round robin. Group I, which includes the Bulldogs, was able to complete their rotation. Group II saw no action in the fluky breezes. With luck, group II will race tomorrow and the top-three teams from each group will combine to form a gold fleet. After two more round robins, the gold fleet will be pared down to a final four. The final-four round robin will determine which team wins the national championship.
The three legs of Yale's team-racing attack today were senior Thomas Barrows and junior Blair Belling in one boat, sophomore Joseph Morris and senior Marla Menninger in another, and senior Sarah Lihan and junior Elizabeth Brim rounding out the group.
The water was nearly glassy today, with the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus reflecting off the lake. The race committee, making the best of a tough situation, set a course and ran races when the breeze seemed strong enough to allow it. Many races were called back and the fleet was returned to shore at least twice. Collegiate dinghies can be rocked kinetically to travel faster than they can sail, and umpires were particularly stringent about enforcing this rule. In one notable start, all three boats from the College of Charleston as well as one boat from Yale were penalized after a start for illegal rocking. The Bulldogs would go on to win that race as well as beat Hawaii, Northwestern and Texas A&M Galveston. Yale lost to St. Mary's and Tufts.
Forecasts for tomorrow do not look much better, though a cold front on Sunday night may allow for windy – albeit possibly rainy—conditions on Memorial Day. Be sure to check yalebulldogs.com each evening for an update on Yale's progress or watch racing live here.
Gold fleet racing begins tomorrow at 12:00 p.m.
Report by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity