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No. 1 Bulldogs Set to Sail at Academies

Eugenia Custo Grieg and Graham Landy.
Eugenia Custo Grieg and Graham Landy.

Bulldogs to Sail at Coast Guard and Kings Point

NEW HAVEN, Conn— Although the No. 1 Yale coed sailing team has a weekend off from qualifying for post-season championships, it will not be taking a break, as teams will sail at two nearby venues. One team of sailors will head to Coast Guard for the Thompson Trophy while another team will head to Kings Point for the Admiral's Cup, a three-division regatta.

While the Bulldogs captured third place last weekend and snagged one of New England's eight spots at the National Semifinal Championships May 12 and 13, they were disappointed with their finish. The Bulldogs have found immense success this spring but last weekend was a reminder that they still have things to work on. Following this realization, the Bulldogs have put in a hard week of work on the water, working on the areas that they need to improve in order to win the big regattas later in the season.

Last year the Bulldogs finished fifth at the Thompson Trophy. The biggest battle was staying consistent on the shifty Thames River in New London, Conn. After numerous regattas on the Charles River, the Thames' evil twin, the Bulldogs will be well prepared for the conditions that they are likely to face this weekend. While the Charles River and the Thames River are similar in many ways, they are distinct in very important characteristic: the Thames River has current. This variable adds another mental aspect to sailing, as the Bulldogs must factor in which way the current is going and how quickly it is flowing in order to figure out start timing as well as which side of the course might be more advantageous. The Thames often has differing strengths and sometimes direction of current across the course.

The Thompson trophy will be sailed in both FJs and 420s allowing for both fleets to be on the water at the same time and more races to be completed. The current forecast is for some rain both days, a change in the beautiful weather that the Bulldogs have had this week at practice. The wind is projected to be ten to 15 knots each day with gusts up to 20 knots on Saturday, but this is likely to change as the weekend gets closer.

The other team of Bulldogs will sail at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.  The venue is in Little Neck Bay on the Long Island Sound, the same body of water that the Bulldogs practice on in Branford. The bay is very shallow and often has strong current as well as shifty breeze, making it more like a river venue than an open water venue.

The Merchant Marine Academy has a full fleet of FJs, 420s and Lasers so the Admiral's Cup will be sailed in three divisions. A and B division will rotate between the FJs and 420s while C division will remain in the singlehanded Laser for the entire regatta. The Bulldogs did not compete at the Admiral's Cup last year, but they did sail at the Nevins Trophy at Kings Point in the fall, which has the same format.

The forecast for the Admiral's Trophy also calls for rain but lighter wind than at Coast Guard with light breeze on Saturday of five to 10 knots and stronger breeze on Sunday of 10 to 15 knots.

Sailors will report to the Coast Guard Academy at New England's 9:30 start time on Saturday while those going to Kings Point will have to rise a little earlier to make the 9:00 Mid-Atlantic start time.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity