No. 6 Bulldogs Gain Valuable Experience
NEW HAVEN, Conn—The No. 6 Bulldogs launched onto the water in two parts of the northeast this weekend. The Bulldogs sailed at the Women’s Finger Lakes Intersectional hosted by Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., and also at the Regis Bowl hosted by Boston University in Boston, finishing in fourth place at both events.
Four Bulldogs made the long trip to Cornell for the promotional Finger Lakes Intersectional. Saturday dawned with sunshine, which was quite rare across the rain-drenched northeast. Races were sailed in 420s in light breeze. Sunday brought some of the rain that had plagued the rest of the northeast. The breeze didn’t fill until later in the day but there was still enough time to complete the twelve-race regatta. The team finished in fourth with 105 points behind Old Dominion University, Dartmouth, and Navy.
Senior Sarah Lihan and junior Elizabeth Brim won A division with 29 points, winning four races and never finishing out of the top five. Lihan sailed in England for the first two weekends followed by a weekend of singlehanded sailing at the Women’s New England Singlehanded Championships, which made the Finger Lakes Intersectional her first double-handed regatta of the season. With three years of experience and a couple weeks of practice, Lihan was able to make the switch from singlehanded to double-handed look easy.
In B Division senior Rebecca Jackson and sophomore Stephanie Schuyler had an up and down regatta to finish in seventh with 76 points. They finished in the top five in four races and never finished out of the top 10. Schuyler said, “It was pretty light on Saturday which was frustrating, but it was to be expected when sailing on a lake. The weekend got better as Becca [Jackson] and I got used to sailing together. We have never sailed together before so it took a little while for us to get in sync.”
It was the first time the four Bulldogs had been to Cornell and they quite liked the facilities. Schuyler said, “Cornell’s venue is gorgeous and very impressive for a club team that does not have the type of funding that s chools with varsity teams have.”
In Boston, the Bulldogs received a not so dry welcome by the Charles River. Saturday brought with it soggy sailing conditions as it poured rain for most of the day. Races were sailed in FJs in a southeasterly breeze of five to 10 knots that faded as the day went on. The Charles provided the puffy and shifty conditions that it is known for. Because there were only 10 teams at the regatta, both divisions were sailed together in a combined division with one bye set every rotation. Ten races were sailed throughout the day on Saturday.
Sunday’s weather was a bit more agreeable with clouds rather than raindrops but unfortunately the wind seemed to have left with the rain. After being in postponement for three hours, two races were completed in very light conditions. A third race was started but then abandoned due to the nonexistent breeze and the regatta was called at 2:30 p.m. after 12 races. The Bulldogs finished with 212 points in fourth place behind Boston College, Harvard, and Tufts.
Freshman Claire Dennis and sophomore Margot Benedict sailed as the A Division team and finished in seventh overall. They had only one finish outside of the top 10 in 12 races and finished in the top five in two races. Freshmen Emily Billing and Heather May sailed as the B Division team and finished in 14th overall. They had two top-five finishes and seven top 10 finishes.
As the regatta progressed, the Bulldogs were able to adjust to the difficult Charles River conditions, which often leave people scratching their heads. Both teams were able to improve their finishes and had some of their best races towards the end of the regatta.
Next week the Bulldogs will be in action at the Navy Women’s Intersectional in Annapolis, Md. With three divisions, the Bulldogs will once again be able to use their depth.
Report filed by Margot Benedict ’12, Yale Sports Publicity