June 5, 2012

No. 3 Bulldogs Set For National Championships

Bulldogs Headed to the Lone Star State

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After the longest post season in recent memory, the No. 3 Yale coed sailing team is finally on its way to Austin, Texas, for the ICSA Dinghy National Championships. The regatta will be held over three days, June 6-8, on Lake Travis, right outside of the Texas capital. After more than three weeks of preparation, the Bulldogs are eager to hit the water and start working their way towards their first national championship since 1975.

The Bulldogs qualified for the National Championships by finishing second at the Western Semifinal Championships which was held in Annapolis, Md., at the Naval Academy May 12-13. Since then the Bulldogs have combined periods of rest with intense sessions out on the Long Island Sound at the McNay Family Sailing Center in Branford. Three of the Bulldogs also had to juggle graduation proceedings with their time on the water. For these three, Isabel Elliman, Joseph Morris and Genoa Warner, the National Championships will be their final college sailing regatta as well as their last obligation as Yale undergraduates before they set out into the world.

Although the National Championships were held on Lake Travis a mere eight years ago, the venue is a very different place to sail today. Drought has caused the lake to shrink to levels that are more than 60 feet down from what the Bulldogs saw in 2004. This means that the hills surrounding the sailing site seem bigger which makes the sailing more shifty and the range of breeze less than when the lake was full. However, after watching the women's National Championships the coaches are well aware of the current conditions. The Bulldogs have also communicated with the women's team in order to gain extra information about the venue. The women were able to figure out the venue by the end of their stay in Austin, finishing second, a mere four points from a national championship.

While the Bulldogs were warned about the hot temperatures that Texas usually presents, the weather is forecasted to be a bit milder at least for the second and third days of the regatta. Wednesday is supposed to have a high of 94 with a high of 89 on Thursday and 88 on Friday. As has been true for the last week on Lake Travis, moderate winds are forecasted for the three days with five to seven knots forecasted for Wednesday, two to 10 knots for Thursday and five to seven knots for Friday.

The Bulldogs will face some stiff competition from schools across the country. Their main competition will come from schools in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic who they compete against a lot such as No. 1 Georgetown, No. 5 Boston College and No. 6 Roger Williams. No. 2 Charleston and No. 3 Stanford are also familiar to the Bulldogs. However, No. 16 University of Miami's win at the Western Semifinals proved that fluky conditions open up the regatta to all of the teams competing. With the semifinals qualifying procedure, the 18 teams on the water at the National Championships truly are the 18 best teams in the country.

The Bulldogs will report to the sailing site at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday for registration. A competitors briefing will be held at 9:30 a.m. with a short practice session scheduled for 9:30 to 10:30 so that all of the teams can get some time in the boats. The Bulldogs should not take long to adjust as both the boats and the jibs are quite like the ones the Bulldogs practice with. The first race warning will be held at 10:45 a.m. Racing will start a bit earlier on Thursday and Friday with a first warning at 10:00 a.m. No races can start after 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

The Bulldogs are in a perfect position to do well at the National Championships. They have competed well in regattas all season and have focused on the National Championships for the past three weeks. They also have the added benefit of information from the very successful women's team and two coaches who have witnessed multiple days of sailing on Lake Travis. The next three days should certainly be exciting. Results can be found at http://2012nationals.collegesailing.org/coed-results/.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity 

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