May 28, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 3 Bulldog coed sailing team is ready to compete at the first of two National Championship regattas for the Bulldogs starting on Friday and continuing through Sunday. The Bulldogs, who will compete at the 14-team ICSA/APS Team Race National Championships, will be looking for their first national title in team racing. Racing will take place against some of the toughest competition of the season, with teams from each of the seven conferences in college sailing at the event.
While the Bulldogs have never won a national title in team racing, they have come close in the past. In 2007, the Bulldogs took second at the National Championships, only losing to St. Mary's College of Maryland. Junior captain Thomas Barrows, who will be competing for the Bulldogs again this year, was one of the three skippers that competed for the Bulldogs in the second-place result at the ICSA/APS Team Race National Championships. As well, the Bulldogs took second at the 2005 National Championships.
This year, the Bulldogs are again prepared to strongly perform at the National Championships after missing out on qualifying in 2008. The team took second at the New England Team Race Championships this year, only losing to No. 2 Boston College. The fact that the Bulldogs made it to the National Championships is an impressive feat in itself as the New England Intercollegiate Sailing association (NEISA) is arguably the most competitive district in the nation and only the top three teams from the district qualified for the National Championships. Besides Yale and Boston College, No. 9 Harvard also qualified for the National Championships from NEISA.
At the ICSA/APS Team Race National championships, the Bulldogs will have a long road to the Final Four, the round of racing that determines the national champion. The Bulldogs will start out competition on Friday in a group of seven that was determined by seedings based upon finishes at conference championships. Each of the group of seven teams will be equal, with the Bulldogs competing in Group One. The team will face No. 1 Georgetown, No. 5 Charleston, Harvard, Michigan, Tulane and UC-Irvine in this round. Competing in Group Two will be No. 4 St. Mary's, No. 8 South Florida, No. 13 SUNY Maritime, No. 14 Stanford, Boston College, Washington and Wisconsin. The top four teams from each of the two groups will make the Championship Round Robin while the bottom three teams will then compete in the Consolation Round Robin. The top four teams from the Championship Round Robin will then qualify for the Final Four. The Bulldogs, which will start off the competition in Group One at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, should have their toughest test to start off the regatta, facing Georgetown in the first race of the event.
The event, which is being hosted by UC-Berkley and California Maritime at the Treasure Island Sailing Center in FJs, might feature tough conditions which could help the team out. The racing will take place in a relatively sheltered part of San Francisco Bay, which should bring strong wind, but flatter water than the more open-water part of the Bay where the ICSA/Gill Dinghy National Championships will take place. The Bulldogs faced similar breezy conditions at the New England Team Race Championships hosted by No. 6 Roger Williams and performed well in them, which bodes strongly for the team. The windy conditions also mean that the races will become more dependent on strong starting and good boat speed because teammates will have less of an opportunity to slow down the other boats on other teams and complicated boathandling will become less of an issue. This should be good for the Bulldogs, who have both good starting and boat speed.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity