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No. 6 Bulldogs Hope For Return of Wind

Joseph Morris and Blair Belling (Photo by Rob Migliaccio).
Joseph Morris and Blair Belling (Photo by Rob Migliaccio).

Bulldogs Eager to Complete More Races

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—With more wind predicted for the weekend, the No. 6 Yale coed sailing team will hopefully be able to display its talents on the water far more than last weekend, when mother nature vastly limited the number of races at all of the four regattas the Bulldogs sailed at, including preventing any sailing at one regatta. The Bulldogs will send teams to three regattas this weekend including the Danmark Trophy at Coast Guard and the Connecticut College Invite, both in New London, Conn., on the Thames River and the Mystic Lake Invitational hosted by Tufts in Medford, Mass. 

Two of the three teams of Bulldogs will head north on 95 to sail in New London, Conn., on the Thames River. Known for its shifty wind conditions that often include high degree changes in the breeze, the Thames is often an extremely tricky place to sail. Another big factor in sailing on the Thames is the current. The river is wide with varying depths creating different current channels. Sometimes half of the river has current going in one direction while the other half has current traveling in the opposite direction. The key in these conditions is to try always to be sailing with the current whether you are going up or down wind which makes tactics a huge part of successful racing.

Last year the Bulldogs finished third at the Danmark Trophy, a result they hope to improve on. Skipper senior captain Joseph Morris will sail in his first doublehanded regatta of the fall season, after sailing sloops for the first few weekends of the season. The Bulldogs are also sending skippers junior Cameron Cullman and sophomore Christopher Segerblom. Accompanying them will be crews seniors Isabel Elliman and Genoa Warner as well as junior Heather May. A few other crews are also on call in case the big breeze forecasted for Sunday materializes.

The Coast Guard Academy has two fleets of boats, one of 420s and one of FJs, which means that sailors will have to exhibit their talents in both boats throughout the weekend. The Bulldogs have the advantage of having both types of boats to practice in at the McNay Family Sailing Center, giving them an advantage over teams who only sail one type of boat day-to-day. 

A slightly younger team will get its first experience on the Thames River at the Connecticut College Invitational in FJs, just up the river from Coast Guard at Connecticut College's venue. The Bulldogs are sending freshmen skippers Morgan Kiss and Graham Landy, both of whom have had very successful starts to their college careers despite the lack of wind last weekend. Sailing with them will be crews freshman Katherine Gaummond and sophomore Eugenia Custo Grieg.

A third team of Bulldogs will make the longer trek to Medford, Mass., but will get to experience just as shifty conditions on the infamous Mystic Lake. The Bulldogs sailed at the Hood Trophy at Tufts' venue last weekend, giving them some insights into sailing on the lake as well as piloting Tufts' special fleet of Larks. The Larks are college sailing's fastest boats and with the addition of flat top mains, they allow for races to be completed even in very minimal breeze.

The Bulldogs will be represented by skippers sophomore Max Nickbarg and senior Robert Struckett and crews senior Margot Benedict and freshman Sarah Smith. The Bulldogs will also get the opportunity to be coached by Kate Hagemann '09, an All-American skipper and National Champion, who lives and works in Boston.

All racing will begin at 9:30 a.m. with sailors up and down the east coast crossing their fingers for the return of some breeze.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity