One Step Closer to the National Championships
BOWDOIN, Maine – The weather up north was not exactly the 75 degrees that students enjoyed on Old Campus on Easter Sunday, but the No. 3 Yale women's sailing team is in good spirits nonetheless because they finished fourth overall at the Women's New England Championships, hosted by Bowdoin University.
Of the eighteen teams in attendance, the top seven overall will move on to the next stage in the process of qualifying for the Nationals. The top two finishers – Boston College and Connecticut College – have actually earned themselves an automatic berth at the nationals. They will join seven teams from a combination of the other districts in the luxury of not having to race in the Semifinals. On the other hand, the third through seventh place finishers at the New Englands – Brown, Yale, Harvard, University of Rhode Island and the US Coast Guard Academy – will have to race in the additional qualification regatta just prior to the nationals in order to determine the final nine teams that get to compete for the national title. The Nationals are to be held on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon from May 23rd to 26th.
The sailors were greeted to the New England Championships on Saturday by cold temperatures, sleet and strong winds from the south at around 20 knots. The winds shifted east slightly throughout the day and calmed down into the range of eight to 16 knots. Temperatures and precipitation on the other hand, did not improve significantly. Eight races were completed in both A and B division on Saturday and at the end of the day the Bulldogs sat fourth overall, just four points out of third-place.
Fourth-place with that same point spread is where the Bulldogs would remain because Sunday's weather brought sun but very little wind. The race officials were able to get off a set of two light-air races in A division on Sunday morning, but then the wind shut off and the regatta waited around in hopes that it would fill in at least enough to finish another B division set. Unfortunately the teams waited to no avail and the four o'clock end time came and went without the completion of anymore races. Without an even number of A and B division races, the final two A division races had to be discounted so that scores returned to exactly what they had been Saturday night.
The Yale women put together strong showings in both divisions at this high level event. Sophomore skipper Claire Dennis and sophomore crew Heather May finished third in A division while the freshman duo of skipper Marlena Fauer and crew Eugenia Custo Greig took fourth in B division. Both boats had only one double-digit score each and for the most part kept it within the top five. Dennis and May ended the day on Saturday with a highlight "perfect set", meaning they won both races.
The Bulldogs now have an exactly four-week break from competition before they head to Oregon to race in the Semifinals on May 23rd. This fortunately gives the athletes a little more opportunity to focus on academics as they enter the final exam period. Post exams the sailors will continue to live on campus and commute to and from the McNay Family Sailing Center on a daily basis for practice.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity