March 20, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -
The No. 4 Bulldog coed sailing team will race in the toughest fleet race competition of the season this Saturday and Sunday at the extremely competitive Truxton Umsted Intersectional hosted by Navy. The Bulldogs, who are coming off a week of intense training in Florida, will hope that their week of hard work will pay off with strong results. The team took third in the regatta last year on the strength of a dominating performance in C division by junior captain Thomas Barrows. The team will also compete at the Veitor Trophy hosted by Salve Regina.
The Bulldogs, who practiced intensely over the past week in the warm weather of Florida, will hope that their long practice sessions will pay off. It was the first opportunity to get onto the water in a practice environment for the Bulldogs as they were unable to practice at the McNay Family Sailing Center earlier in the season due to adverse weather conditions.
The team was able to have two sessions of practice per day. The warm weather at South Florida allowed the team to stay focused on improving their fleet and team race skills without worrying about staying warm as they need to do in northern venues.
Freshman skipper Joseph Morris found the spring break training trip to be a valuable learning opportunity.
"The level of competition was excellent on our training trip," Morris said. "We elevated our team race skills through successive twice-a-day training sessions. Having 2008 Olympian Stuart McNay train and coach us was a very valuable experience. I am very excited to see how the team will perform in the next few weekends."
The Truxton Umsted competition is the first opportunity the team will have to see how they face up against the elite teams in the nation in fleet racing. The Bulldogs, who placed third at the regatta last year following their spring break training trip, will again seek to place in the top tier of college teams. The regatta is also a good test of a team's depth. It includes more boats on the water at one time than any other regatta in college sailing. The team will compete in four divisions of competition, including two divisions of doublehanded sailing and two divisions of singlehanded sailing. Sailing will take place in 420s, FJs, Lasers and Laser Radials. Of the 20 teams competing at the regatta, 15 are ranked in the top 20 nationally. Of the top 10 teams in the nation, nine will be in action at the regatta.
Last year, the regatta had three divisions, with two divisions of doublehanded sailing and one of singlehanded sailing. The Bulldogs were lead by Barrows in C division, which was sailed in Lasers. Barrows, who was the 2007 ICSA/Vanguard Singlehanded National Champion and competed at the 2008 Olympics in the Laser class, dominated his division with a win with 46 points over 18 races. He never finished worse than fifth in any race and won five races. The Bulldogs also took seventh in A division and 11th in B division. This year, the Bulldogs will have Barrows sailing in A division with an entirely new group of sailors competing in B, C and D divisions. Still, the Bulldogs should expect to do well. Morris will sail in B division and has been competing strongly all season long. As well, C division, sailed in Lasers, will have freshman Cameron Cullman competing, who was the U.S. Youth Champion in the Laser class. In D division, sailed in Laser Radials, the Bulldog will also be very strong, having junior Sarah Lihan compete. Lihan has been a member of the U.S. Sailing Team in the Laser radial class.
Racing will get underway at 9:00 a.m. While the wind was very strong last year, the forecast this year is for very light wind.
The Bulldogs will also compete at the Veitor Trophy hosted by Navy. The regatta will take place in 420s. The Bulldogs have not competed at the event since 2006, when they took 12th. Racing will start at 9:30 a.m.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity