May 25, 2011

Yale Wins First Round, National Championship Underway

A Bulldog Victory at the Semifinals Today Earned the Team a Spot at the Nationals Which Will Take Place Over the Next Three Days

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – The No. 6 Yale women's sailing team got out to an early lead on Monday at the Semifinals and never looked back.  Finishing anywhere in the top nine would have been sufficient enough to qualify the team for the national championship, but the Bulldogs clearly showed that they have intentions beyond  simply qualifying.  Eight races were completed in both divisions by noon on Tuesday and that was enough to call an end to the qualification round and move on into racing for the national championship.

Both boats sailing for Yale took first-place in their respective divisions.  Sophomore skipper Claire Dennis along with sophomore crew Heather May only finished outside of the top five once in A division.  In B division, sophomore skipper Emily Billing and freshman crew Amanda Salvesen raced in the six races on Monday for Yale and even sailed a "perfect set" by winning races three and four.  Freshman skipper Marlena Fauer and freshman crew Eugenia Custo Greig took over for the final set of the regatta on Tuesday morning.  They scored a two, seven to seal the Bulldogs' first round victory.

After racing for the first round was completed at noon on Tuesday, the top nine finishing teams joined the nine prequalified teams and headed back out onto the river at one o'clock to begin racing for the national championship.  Unfortunately only one set was able to be sailed in each division due to very light winds combined with extremely strong current.  Yale's assistant coach Bill Healy reports that "at times boats were going backwards on the downwinds" because the upwind current was stronger than the breeze.  Apparently the strength of the river flow is exceptionally drastic this spring thanks to the great amount of snow and rain received this past winter.    

Fortunately there are two more full days of racing left to be sailed and the final results may end up looking nothing like what the current results say after just two races.  Forecasts for Wednesday say that the sailors have lots of rain to look forward to, but at the same time hopefully a little more breeze.  You can follow Yale's women sailors as they battle for the national title by checking results at the event website or even by watching videos of the racing at sailgroove.org.    

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity

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