No. 3 Bulldogs Head to Navy for Competitive Intersectional

Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Lincoln Benedict)

Bulldogs Will Face Top Competition from Around the Nation

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After an impressive showing last weekend, the Bulldogs will head south to Annapolis, Md. for the Navy Women's Fall Intersectional. The Bulldogs will face the top competition from across the nation in their first major out-of-region intersectional. Taking place on the fourth weekend of the nine-weekend season, Navy Women's will send the Bulldogs into the second half of the fall season.

Last year the Bulldogs won the regatta in impressive fashion despite tough competition. Sarah Lihan '10 and senior Elizabeth Brim won A division while freshmen Claire Dennis and Heather May finished third in B division and freshman Emily Dennis finished third in C division. This finish propelled the Bulldogs to the top of the rankings.

By far, the majority of college sailing regattas, both coed and women only, are sailed with two divisions. Most of these regattas are sailed in one type of doublehanded dinghy. Some colleges have both 420s and FJs (or FJs and tech dinghies in the case of MIT) which allows the divisions to experience both boats. The Naval Academy, however, has a full fleet of both FJs and 420s as well as Lasers, which allows it to have three division regattas without offsets. The Navy Fall Women's Intersectional is the lone women's three-division regatta of the year.

While some women's teams might have difficulties fielding a full three-division women's team, the Bulldogs are far from short on talented female sailors. The Bulldogs have the added advantage of being very strong in the Laser Radial division (C division at Navy Women's) as was shown last weekend when sophomores Emily Billing and Claire Dennis qualified for the Singlehanded National Championships. While some teams will simply fill the third division with a remaining skipper who may not have much experience in Lasers, the Bulldogs will be incredibly strong in all three divisions.

Dennis and May will return to the water after a weekend apart. They will sail in A division while freshmen Marlena Fauer and Eugenia Costo Grieg will return to B division after last weekend's positive A division experience. A division and B division will each get to sail half the regatta in 420s and the other half in FJs. Billing will sail in C division in the Laser Radial, hoping to build upon her excellent finish last weekend at the New England Singlehanded Championships.

Navy has the option of sailing on the Severn River or out in Annapolis Harbor depending on the wind direction. The wind can come from any direction and is generally light although that was not the case on Saturday last year when the breeze reached 22 knots. As of now, five to 10 knots of wind are predicted for both Saturday and Sunday.

The Bulldogs will face all of the top teams in the country. No. 1 Boston College, No. 2 Brown, No. 8 Harvard, No. 10 Tufts and No. 13 Coast Guard will also travel down to Maryland from New England. The Mid-Atlantic will be well represented in their own region by No. 4 St. Mary's, No. 5 Old Dominion, No. 7 Georgetown, No. 11 Hobart William Smith, as well as Navy and William and Mary. No. 9 Charleston, No. 12 Eckerd and South Florida will travel north from the Southern Atlantic region. Stanford will also make the trip to Maryland all the way from the West coast.

The Bulldogs will have help with the top competition from Jane Macky '09 who will travel to Navy to coach the team. As a 2009 National Champion, Macky has great insight into sailing well against high-ranking opponents.

Sailing will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, as per the Mid-Atlantic norm.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity