No. 6 Bulldogs Try Out Keelboats

Team Enters Storm Trysail Club Regatta For First Time

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 6 Bulldogs will leave behind their familiar collegiate dinghies this weekend to compete on a 35-foot J-105.  This is the first time that Yale has entered the Storm Trysail Club Collegiate Regatta, a promotional event meant to encourage collegiate sailors to try keelboat racing.  Other Bulldogs will sail dinghy events, including the New England Men's Singlehanded Championship at the McNay Family Sailing Center and the Moody Trophy at Rhode Island.

For many college sailors, dinghies are their entire world.  Most began their sailing careers in an Optimist, a seven-foot, bathtub-shaped boat sailed solo.  Outgrowing the Optimist, sailors chose either the Laser, a singlehanded dinghy, or the 420, a doublehanded boat.  Sailing these classes at junior events make the transition to college sailing simple—both are integral parts of the collegiate circuit.  Fewer sailors, however, spend significant time aboard larger keelboats, which are the dominant type of boat in the racing world.  The Storm Trysail Club Collegiate Regatta, to be sailed out of Larchmont Yacht Club in Larchmont, N.Y., aims to introduce dinghy sailors to big-boat competition.  Yale will be competing on a J-105, a popular class of boat that features an asymmetrical spinnaker, an added challenge.  Flying the spinnaker – often called the "kite" – requires a set of skills not found on the collegiate circuit because college events do not use this type of sail.  

The Bulldogs are prepared for the new challenge.  Both senior Andrew Kurzrok and junior Rob Struckett have raced on boats similar to the J-105 before, and Struckett recently helped the Bulldogs win the Harman Cup, which was sailed in keelboats.  Joining them will be junior Genoa Warner, sophomore Rafael Fernandez and freshman Will Feldman.  

Yale also plays host to the New England Men's Singlehanded Championship, sailed in the Laser.  The top five finishers at the event will earn berths in the National Championship, to be sailed at the University of South Florida later this fall.  Sophomore Cameron Cullman and freshman Max Nickbarg will represent the Bulldogs at the event.  Cullman has spent much of the last year training in the Laser and Nickbarg is the reigning high school national champion.

Lastly, Yale travels to the University of Rhode Island for the Moody Trophy.  The event is sailed in the FJ on Salt Pond, URI's home waters.  Despite their extensive collegiate experience, neither senior Elizabeth Brim nor junior Joseph Morris has previously raced at URI.  Morris will skipper A division with freshman Amanda Salvesen and Brim will crew in B division for freshman Chris Segerblom.

A high-pressure front moving over New England this weekend may keep forecasters guessing on wind conditions.  Moderate breezes are currently forecast, but this could change quickly.

Racing begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Report by Andrew Kurzrok '11, Yale Sports Publicity