No. 1 Bulldogs Qualify For National Semifinal Championships

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

Bulldogs Nab One of New England's Qualifying Berths

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—The No. 1 Yale coed sailing team captured third place at the New England Dinghy Championship hosted by Harvard on the Charles River, qualifying for the National Semifinal Championships. The Bulldogs also placed seventh at the Oberg Trophy hosted by Northeastern University at the Boston University sailing venue and fifth at the Short Beach Invitational on home waters in Branford.

The Bulldogs have been on a hot streak all spring, winning numerous events and hitting their stride on the water. However, sailing conditions are unpredictable and success found one weekend can be elusive the next. This is particularly true on the Charles River, which is notorious for strange conditions.

The big breeze that was forecasted for the weekend earlier in the week never showed up on the Harvard portion of the river. The breeze came out of the west on both days ranging from about two to eight knots, with constant changes in pressure making consistency extremely difficult. A division sailed in Harvard's fleet of FJs while B division sailed in MIT's fleet of FJs from up the river, allowing for the completion of all 18 races, despite the in and out breeze.

The regatta remained extremely tight until the end, increasing the blood pressure of all involved as they fought for the eight qualifying spots and the chance to sail at the National Semifinal Championships and the ability to move on to the National Championships. Due to the inconsistent conditions, many teams made a surprising run into the top eight, sailing their best regatta of the year. Host Harvard captured the win, using home water advantage to surprise many people.  Roger Williams finished second with Dartmouth, Boston College, Boston University, Tufts and Brown rounding out the top eight. Brown claimed the final qualifying spot in heartbreaking fashion, winning a tiebreaker over MIT. The two semifinal championships will be sailed at the Naval Academy May 12 and 13.

Senior skipper Joseph Morris and crews senior Isabel Elliman (races one through eight and 11 through 18) and junior Heather May (races nine and 10) battled consistency, finishing eighth in A division after losing a tiebreaker for seventh. They collected two wins and seven top-five finishes.

Junior captain skipper Cam Cullman and senior crew Genoa Warner finished third in B division, a mere four points out of first. They finished with ten top fives, including two wins, and only finished outside the top ten twice.

While it is not quite the result the Bulldogs were hoping for, they claimed a post-season berth which was ultimately the most important task of the weekend. This weekend will give them some things to work on as they continue on the road to the National Championships, which will be held in Austin, Texas June 6-8.

The Bulldogs also faced inconsistent conditions at the Oberg Trophy, up the Charles River at the Boston University venue. They rode puffs and lulls to a seventh place finish. Sophomores skipper Max Nickbarg and crew Anna Han finished eighth in A division, losing a tiebreaker for seventh. They collected top-five finishes in five of the 12 races. Senior skipper Robert Struckett and freshman crew Sarah Smith finished seventh in B division, a point out of sixth. They also finished in the top five in five of the 12 races.

The Bulldogs finished fifth at the final collegiate regatta of this spring season at the McNay Family Sailing center in Branford. The breeze came out of the southwest and ranged from five to 10 knots over the weekend, before dying after 15 races were conducted. Sophomore William Feldman and freshman Urska Kosir co-skippered A division, finishing fifth. Sophomores Nace Cohen and Sam Taylor co-skippered B division and also finished fifth.

Next weekend the Bulldogs will take a break from qualifying. They will sail at the Admiral's Cup at Kings Point, the Priddy Trophy at the University of New Hampshire and the Thompson Trophy at the Coast Guard Academy.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity