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No. 3 Bulldogs Win Navy Fall Intersectional

Bill Healy, Joe Morris, Claire Dennis, Isabel Elliman, Chris Segerblom, Will Feldman, Heather May, Zack Foreman, Margot Benedict, Cam Culman.
Bill Healy, Joe Morris, Claire Dennis, Isabel Elliman, Chris Segerblom, Will Feldman, Heather May, Zack Foreman, Margot Benedict, Cam Culman.

Bulldogs Show Consistency Across Divisions to Take Regatta

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The No. 3 Yale coed sailing team returned to New Haven with exactly what they had set out on Friday to achieve: victory at one of the most competitive regattas of the fall, the Navy Fall Intersectional. Another team of Bulldogs also sailed successfully, capturing fifth place at the Captain Hurst Bowl, hosted by Dartmouth in Enfield, N.H.

With seventy-two boats in four divisions on the water at the same time, the Navy Fall Intersectional is by far the biggest regatta of the fall in terms of size. Because of its prestige, it attracts top competition from the host mid-Atlantic region as well as other regions across the country. This year was no different with top teams from New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast and the West.

With the forecast calling for big breeze all weekend, all of the teams brought a large crew to adjust to the varying conditions. Saturday dawned a bit lighter than expected but still called for heavier crews after the first set of races. The southwesterly wind built through the middle of the day with consistent breeze near 20 and gusts to 30 knots before slackening a bit by the end of the day. Twelve races were completed on a trapezoid course.

The sun and pleasant 70 degree temperatures returned on Sunday. The breeze returned from the southwest but although puffy and shifty like Saturday, it only ranged from eight to 15 knots. Six more races were completed on a trapezoid course, completing the regatta by 12:30 p.m.

In A division, skipper senior captain Joseph Morris drove the boat to a third-place finish with a combination of crews senior Isabel Elliman, sophomore Will Feldman and junior Heather May. Elliman sailed races one and two and 13-18, Feldman sailed races 10 through 12 and May sailed races three through nine.  The combined effort led to fifteen top-ten finishes and three wins.

Sophomore Christopher Segerblom skippered the B division boat to a sixth-place finish. A variety of crews also contributed to the B division effort with senior Margot Benedict sailing races one and two and 13 through 18, junior Zachary Foreman sailing races three through nine and May sailing races nine through 12. The boat collected 13 top-ten finishes and three wins.

Junior Cam Cullman exhibited his talents in the Laser class in C division, taking the win by 11 points. He had twelve top-five finishes, including six wins. Cullman recently qualified for the ICSA National Singlehanded Championships by winning the New England qualifier and also garnered NEISA Coed Sailor of the Week for his performance.  The win at Navy Fall in the Laser division will give Cullman a boost of confidence heading into the National Championships in three weeks.

Junior Claire Dennis schooled the boys in the Laser Radial D division, finishing second, a mere five points out of first. Despite the big breeze, which favored the larger skippers in her fleet, Dennis used her dominating Laser Radial skills to continually finish at the top, causing many of the other skippers in her division, which was composed of mostly boys, to cry out in frustration. Dennis finished with 12 top fives including three wins. Dennis was so powerful that she snapped a mast towards the end of race five, causing her to miss race six, which meant she received breakdown average points for those two races. Dennis will join Cullman at the National Singlehanded Championships in three weeks.

The Bulldogs won the regatta over No. 1 Charleston by 23 points, securing their place at the top of college sailing. The great thing about the weekend was that every Bulldog that endured the New York City traffic on the way to and from Annapolis was able to sail.

"It is really exciting that everyone go to sail because we had such a variety of conditions," said Cullman. "Our victory this weekend was a real team effort."

Another team of Bulldogs faced an even wider variety of conditions at the Captain Hurst Bowl, hosted by Dartmouth in Enfield, N.H., on Lake Mascoma. While big breeze was forecasted for the weekend, just like the rest of the Eastern seaboard, Lake Mascoma had other things in mind on Saturday morning. At one point, the breeze got so light that a race had to be abandoned. It filled in to forecasted strength in a hurry though causing white capping on the Lake. Sunday was much the same, offering puffy and shifty conditions of varying strengths.

Freshmen skipper Graham Landy and crews freshman Katherine Gaumond and sophomore Madeline Yozwiak fought the heavy conditions to finish fourth in A division despite their small size. They finished in the top-ten in nine of the 15 races, including three wins. 

Skippers freshman Morgan Kiss and senior Rob Struckett shared the skippering in B division, finishing 11th with crews sophomores Anna Han and Yozwiak. The team faced inconsistency but finished with seven top-tens.

The Bulldogs' fifth-place finish was impressive as many of the New England teams brought their best skippers to the regatta, but the young Bulldogs were able to hang with and beat some of the best.

Next weekend will be quite busy for the Bulldogs. They will send teams to Brown for the Hoyt Trophy , MIT for the Oberg Trophy, Boston College for the Boston College Invite and Roger Williams for the Southern Series Six.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity