No. 5 Bulldogs Capture Duplin Trophy

Sarah Lihan and Elizabeth Brim. (Photo by Chris Love, Sailgroove)
Sarah Lihan and Elizabeth Brim. (Photo by Chris Love, Sailgroove)

Bulldogs Display Team Racing Prowess

MEDFORD, Mass.- The No. 5 Bulldogs made the hours of team race lectures count this weekend taking the win at the Duplin Trophy hosted by Tufts on Mystic Lake. The Duplin Trophy is the only women’s team racing regatta. The Bulldogs’ win proved that their sailing talents go beyond fleet racing.

The first challenge of the weekend was adjusting to the larks that the Tufts team sails. While most colleges have 420s or FJs, Tufts sails the different boats due to the sailing conditions presented by Mystic lake. Often the lake doesn’t provide much wind so Tufts has adapted by having what have been called larks on steroids. Not only do larks move better in little breeze but Tufts also added extra long masts and this season added flat-topped mains that are massive, capturing even the smallest wisps of breeze. While half of the Bulldogs had sailed larks before, three had not and needed a bit of time to adjust to the different set-up.

Saturday morning presented less wind than even the larks could do anything with. Two races were started and consequently abandoned when the wind completely shut off. After an hour break, the sailors headed back out into the sunny but brisk 30° weather. The wind finally filled consistently enough but still remained mystical, with the lake proving its name to be accurate. The breeze was extremely shifty and puffy ranging from four to ten knots.

The Bulldogs, made up of seniors Sarah Lihan and Rebecca Jackson, junior Elizabeth Brim, sophomore Margot Benedict and freshmen Claire Dennis, Heather May and Grace Zimmerly, finished 6-2 on the first day of racing, trailing only Boston College.

Sunday brought with it slightly warmer conditions and much more wind, which came out to play from arrival until departure. The breeze was a consistent seven to 12 knots with puffs up to 20 knots. The heightened breeze caused some exciting racing including a few capsizes.

The Bulldogs avoided the carnage and went into the championship round consisting of the top four teams with a record of 12-3, neck and neck with Boston College. The championship round included some of the most exciting racing of the weekend. The last race, a resail between the Bulldogs and Boston College due to a breakdown in a previous race, looked to be locked down by Boston College until right near the finish where one of the Eagles collided with the Bulldogs forcing them to spin and losing the race, sending the Bulldogs to the victory with a final record of 14-4.

Although the regatta was filled with protests as rules were challenged right, left, upwind and downwind, the Bulldogs were excited by the win as well as by the opportunity to team race.

Dennis said, “It was a really good experience to finally team race at a regatta. We have spent a lot of time talking about team racing and it was great to use the knowledge we have acquired.”

Video coverage by Chris Love, including interviews with the Bulldogs and race footage, can be found on Sailgroove.

Next weekend the Bulldogs will return to fleet racing at the 24th Dellenbaugh Trophy hosted by Brown.

Report filed by Margot Benedict ’12, Yale Sports Publicity