CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Gill Coed Western Semifinals wrapped up Wednesday after 11 races were sailed in each division. In a remarkably close event, the Bulldogs finished a nationals berth securing second after the last race in A division was not counted due to lack of a matching B division race. They were twenty points out of first, but only one point ahead of third, and two points ahead of fourth.
Seniors skipper Ian Barrows and crew Clara Robertson sailed for most of the day in A division, later being subbed out when sophomores skipper Nick Hernandez and crew Kira Woods went in to close out the day. In B division, sophomore skipper Nic Baird and freshman crew Graceann Nicolosi sailed four races and senior skipper Mitchell Kiss competed with junior crew Caroline Colwell for two races and senior crew Chandler Gregoire for the final race of the regatta.
The Semifinals are about qualifying for nationals, but also about warming up to the venue. The sailors took note of current and wind patterns, and began to learn the general behavior of the fleet throughout the regatta. Today, the fleet experience current flow in both directions, and constant breeze direction all day, making the current the most important factor in gaining or losing places during the race.
Hernandez recounts what worked today: "it was important to get a good start, and to establish your position well and early on the down winds, since the current was against the wind. Positioning against the fleet to get to the next puff was essential."
The top nine teams from the Western and the Eastern divisions will sail in the Gill Coed National Championships starting tomorrow. Conditions look to be light and challenging, with a possibility of thunderstorms.
Follow the racing online at http://scores.collegesailing.org/
Report filed by Nic Baird '19, Yale Sports Publicity