No. 8 Bulldogs Shake the Rust and Sail Fast

Emily Billing and Margot Benedict. (Photo by Lincoln Benedict)
Emily Billing and Margot Benedict. (Photo by Lincoln Benedict)

Bulldogs Finish Third at the Eckerd Intersectional

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The No. 8 Bulldogs had a successful first weekend back on the water after a long off-season with a third-place finish at the Eckerd Intersectional at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Bulldogs also had an enjoyable weekend, despite the cold, at the Sharpe Trophy Team Race in Bristol. R.I.

Lucky enough to be spending their first weekend in sunshine and eighty-degree weather, the four Bulldogs who traveled to Eckerd for the weekend made the most of it, finishing third with 104 points, a mere two points in front of No. 1 Boston College. No. 5 Charleston finished first with Salve Regina in second.

Saturday dawned with beautiful sunshine and consistent breeze. A division was out sailing by 10:30 a.m. in 10 knots that came out of the east. As the day went on, the wind moved over to the west and faded to about five knots. The water was a bit choppy and throughout the day the current played more of a factor. By the end of the day, the current was dominating the conditions, making tactics even more important. The courses each contained four legs and eight races were completed in each division.

Sunday dawned light with slightly cloudy skies. By the end of A division's first set, the sun and the breeze had come out to play with consistent breeze of 12 knots and puffs to 15 knots. The water started off flat but became slightly choppy as the breeze built. Unlike Saturday, current didn't play a factor. The rotation was completed with four races in each division. In order to extend the racing into the afternoon, the courses had six legs, which is a rarity at intersectionals.

Seniors Andrew Kurzrok and Tatyana Camejo finished sixth in A division with 75 points. They finished in the top five in three of twelve races with a top finish of fourth.

"It was great to get back on the water. I am really looking forward to knocking off all the rust this week in practice at USF," said Kurzrok.

Sophomore Emily Billing and junior Margot Benedict took the win in B division in their first regatta together since last spring. They won four races, including the first two of the regatta, and finished in the top five in all but one race.

Billing remarked, "It has been a long time since Margot and I sailed together but once we got rid of a little rust, we put together a lot of good finishes and were able to stay relatively consistent. This weekend gave us an idea of what we need to work on to improve for the rest of the season."

Meanwhile, in rather different weather, the Bulldogs competed in the Sharpe Trophy Team Race hosted by Roger Williams in Bristol, R.I. The regatta had to be moved from the Charles River because it remains frozen due to the rather slow progression into spring that New England is experiencing.

Saturday provided the Bulldogs with some windy conditions and chilly weather. They finished with a record of one win and nine losses with their win coming against Boston College.

Sunday was even windier with some of the windiest conditions that the Bulldogs have seen at team races. The Bulldogs once again got the win against Boston College, despite only having two boats in the race and thus needing a first and a second to win.

The Bulldogs were represented by a wide range of team racing experience. Juniors Rob Struckett and Isabel Elliman and freshmen Max Nickbarg and Anna Han have team raced together before while freshman Will Feldman and Heather May have never sailed a regatta together. The Bulldogs had to shift around skippers due some last minute injuries to the team.

Struckett said, "We were a little rusty having taken a lot of time off for the winter but we coped pretty well despite having to team race our first time back in a boat. We had a lot of fun in the waves and wind.

Another group of Bulldogs was sailing at the University of South Florida. They were practicing team racing and were afforded the opportunity of sailing against extremely talented Bulldog alumni. The rest of the team will join those already in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will spend the week training. The large amount of time they will get to spend on the water will prepare them well for the rest of the season and the sunshine and warm water is sure to bring smiles and color to their faces.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity