NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 2 Yale coed sailing team will travel to St. Petersburg, Fla., to compete in the ICSA Match Race National Championship this weekend. This event is the last regatta of the fall sailing season.
Hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club, this year's Match Race National Championship will be sailed in Sonars, a seven-meter keelboat that can be sailed by three to five people. Ten schools from across the country have qualified to compete in this weekend's championship, hoping to claim the national title.
The Bulldogs will be sending a top team of sailors to compete this weekend. In fact, it is the exact same team that narrowly took second at last year's Match Race Nationals to Tufts, and won this year's New England Championship. Driving the boat will be senior captain Chris Segerblom. Senior Max Nickbarg trims the jib and the kite, junior Graham Landy calls tactics and sophomore Marly Isler is on the bow.
The biggest challenge for the Bulldogs this weekend will be their lack of practice. Yale's keelboat team does not have an accessible fleet to practice in, and this often shows in results. The team usually drastically improves throughout the weekend as the sailors become more comfortable in the boat.
This year especially, all the fleets of Sonars have been pulled out of the water due to cold weather, leaving Yale with no boats in the area to practice. However, with a day of sailing in Florida before the regatta, the Bulldogs look to shake off as much rust as possible.
Despite this disadvantage, Isler comments that the team is more determined than ever: "After our second-place finish last year at the nationals, we are excited to try again for the title. The hardest part is behind us because our district for qualifying is so difficult due to the great competition. Now that we've made it, we just need to focus on boathandling, staying positive, and remembering that it's our turn this time around."
Racing begins on Friday. Follow results live at http://collegesailing.org/blog/regattas/2013-2014-icsa-match-race-national-championship/#.
Report filed by Katherine Gaumond '15, Yale Sports Publicity