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No. 1 Bulldogs Return to Team Racing

Cam Cullman and Genoa Warner.
Cam Cullman and Genoa Warner.

Bulldogs Look For Continued Success in Different Format

NEW HAVEN, Conn.— The No. 1 Yale coed sailing team will look to follow up on last weekend's fleet racing victories at the Ivy championship and the Boston Dinghy Cup with strong team racing. While the Bulldogs have focused on fleet racing for the past two weekends, they are well prepared for this weekend due to the time put in on the water over spring break and at practice over the past two weeks. The Bulldogs will compete in two team racing regattas, the Southern New England Team Race and the Mystic Lake Team Racing Invitational, and one fleet race regatta, the Boston University Trophy.

Connecticut College will host the Southern New England Team Race (SNETR) on the Thames River in New London, Conn. Many of the Bulldogs are primed for river sailing as they raced on the Charles River in Boston, Mass., last weekend. While the Thames is known for shifty and puffy conditions, as well as interesting current patterns, the team-racing format equalizes some of these variables. The shiftiness also makes for exciting comebacks as the frequent pressure changes can completely alter the standings in the races. This possibility is exciting for teams that are behind but can be a headache for the team in the lead, as even large leads are not safe.

Last year the Bulldogs finished sixth at the SNETR, which offered a wide range of breeze levels with a light day on Saturday and a very windy day on Sunday. The Bulldogs are in a much better position heading into the regatta this year. Unlike last year, the team race team has been able to practice together since the beginning of the season, allowing for much improvement. On the most recent team race rankings that are voted on by five college sailing coaches the Bulldogs were ranked sixth behind Georgetown, Charleston, Hobart William Smith, Boston College and Stanford. This is largely due to a tough final day at the St. Mary's Team Race two weeks ago and will likely improve with a strong finish this weekend.

While Connecticut College will host the 12 teams (five from New England, five from the Mid-Atlantic, one from the Pacific Coast and one from another region), racing will be conducted in both Connecticut College's fleet of FJs and Coast Guard's fleet of FJs in order to allow for more racing. Because Connecticut College and Coast Guard are such close neighbors on the Thames River, they often coordinate to host larger regattas. The current forecast calls for good breeze both days, with higher predictions for Saturday.

Another team of Bulldogs will head to Tufts for the Mystic Lake Team Racing Invitational in Medford, Mass. The Bulldogs will have the opportunity to sail Tufts' quirky fleet of Larks, which are outfitted with flattop mains to allow for sailing in even the most minimal wind conditions. Three of the Bulldogs sailed the larks last weekend, which will help their boat-handling abilities.

While Mystic Lake is known as one of the most frustrating college sailing venues for fleet racing due to its whacky puffs and shifts and often less than ideal breeze conditions, it makes for a very interesting team racing venue. Every race is always up for grabs until the very end, which keeps racing exciting. The team racing N course also allows for sailing from many different directions, as the narrowness of the lake doesn't matter as much due to the smaller course size. The Bulldogs will face top competition from across New England and will look to exhibit their incredible depth and team racing ability.

A third team will also head to the Boston area for the Boston University Trophy, a fleet racing regatta hosted by BU on the Charles River.  Racing will be conducted in FJs on the shifty river Chuck, another venue that can give sailors headaches. The Bulldogs did not compete in the BU trophy last year.

Sailors will report to Tufts and Connecticut College at 9:30 a.m. while the sailors headed to BU do not have to report until 10:30 due to crew races on the Charles River.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity