No. 1 Bulldogs Sail South for Singlehanded Nationals

Bulldogs Look to Continue Past Successes

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- Three of the No. 1 Bulldogs will fly to the Lone Star State to compete in the ICSA Women’s National Singlehanded Championships this weekend. Having qualified by finishing in the top five at the New England Singlehanded Championships, freshmen Emily Billing and Claire Dennis as well as senior Sarah Lihan will sail for singlehanded glory in Corpus Christi, Tex., in Laser Radials from Friday through Sunday.

Corpus Christi is known for its high winds. In fact, the city has one of the highest average wind speeds of all of the coastal cities in North America. Currently, the wind forecast is for winds ranging from 13 to 20 knots this weekend.

The Bulldogs have historically been extremely successful at the singlehanded championships. In the championships last fall, Jane Macky ’09 finished in third. In 2007, Macky finished second. In 2006, Macky finished eighth with Emily Hill ’07 finishing fourth.

This year’s qualifiers come into the championships with a particularly interesting background story. Billing and Lihan are both native Floridians and have sailed with each other for 10 years. Dennis, who hails from California, joined with the others five years later and since then, the trio have traveled the world together sailing Laser Radials. This past summ er they spent time in Kiel, Germany at Kiel Week as well as in Denmark at the Laser Radial European Championships.

Sailing is by nature an individual sport. However, college sailing makes the sport into a team event in which one’s individual performance is valued for its contribution to the team. Singlehanded New England Championships and Singlehanded Nationals are the lone collegiate sailing regattas in which individual results are the only ones to matter. Although Billing, Dennis and Lihan will essentially be competing against each other, it is always helpful to have teammates and lifelong friends out on the water with you.

For the past few weeks, Billing, Dennis and Lihan have been sporadically practicing in Laser Radials. Having two other talented Laser Radial sailors to practice with has made all three of them stronger. The success that the Bulldogs hope to achieve this weekend will be a reflection of all three individuals’ hard work, regardless of the order of finish.

The Bulldogs will take to the waters of Corpus Christi bound by their friendship and the pride they get from wearing the blue pinnies with the big “Y.” Racing begins at 9:00 a.m. on Friday.

Report filed by Margot Benedict ’12, Yale Sports Publicity