October 27, 2010

No. 1 Bulldogs Zero In On Atlantic Coast Championships

Bulldogs Look to Qualify This Weekend

NEW HAVEN, Conn—The newly designated No. 1 Bulldogs will return to the Thames River for the Victorian Urn hosted by Connecticut College in New London, Conn. Last weekend the Bulldogs finished an impressive second on the quirky river and hope to improve on that this coming weekend. However, the baseline goal is to finish in the top-seven New England teams in order to qualify for the Women's Atlantic Coast Championships.

Last year, the Bulldogs finished third at the Urn, which was hosted by Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., on the Charles River. Unlike most regattas, which are sailed at the same venue each year, the Urn rotates hosts, due to its special status as the Atlantic Coast Championship qualifier. Last year, the river Chuck provided extreme conditions with sometimes too much breeze on Saturday and often too little breeze on Sunday. Sarah Lihan '10 and senior Elizabeth Brim finished second in A division. Sophomores Claire Dennis and Heather May sailed in B division on Saturday while juniors Genoa Warner and Stephanie Schuyler sailed on Sunday. Their combined scores placed them in sixth.

As the Bulldogs were shown last weekend, the Thames enjoys marking itself as another flummoxing river venue. Entire fleets are often inverted with luck often playing a factor. It also offers plenty of wacky current, which is often at different speeds and directions in different areas of the river. The current also causes problems when the breeze is light as the current can be more forceful than the wind, causing boats to slow drastically and sometimes go backwards.

Sophomores Claire Dennis and Heather May will return to the Women's circuit after a one week hiatus to sail in A division. Freshman Marlena Fauer and Eugenia Custo Grieg will also be reunited after a weekend of separation and will sail in B division. Fauer had her first experience on the Thames last weekend, which will certainly come in handy at the Urn.

The forecast for this weekend is currently 10 to 15 knots but the weather pattern may change by the time the Bulldogs take to the water at 9:30 a.m.

The Bulldogs will once again face tough competition. Brown, which is tied for the No. 1 ranking with the Bulldogs despite receiving fewer first place votes, and No. 2 Boston College will be out in force, battling for the Atlantic Coast Championship qualifying spots. No. 5 Connecticut College will hope to use home field advantage once again and sail to a strong finish after last weekend's win at the Stu Nelson. Three out of conference teams will also sail in the Urn. They will be taken out of the final tally for qualifying as they have their own qualifying regatta in the Mid Atlantic and the South.

As well as being first in the Sailing World national rankings, the Bulldogs are currently at the top of the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association rankings due to their impressive finishes all fall. The Bulldogs will take this added boost into the weekend as they sail with an eye towards the Atlantic Coast Championships hosted by South Florida and Eckerd in St. Petersburg Fla. Nov. 13 and 14.

Report filed by Margot Benedict '12, Yale Sports Publicity