November 6, 2011

Bulldogs Take Silver and Bronze at National Championship

CHICAGO, Ill. – The No. 1 Yale women's sailing team claimed two spots on the podium this past weekend at the ICSA Women's Singlehanded National Championship, hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club.  Juniors Claire Dennis and Emily Billing finished in second and third respectively in the regatta.  Their performance made Yale the only team with two members that finished in the top five. 

It was a dominant national championship performance by the ICSA New England district in general.  The top four finishers perfectly mirrored the top four from the Women's New England Singlehanded Championship which was the nationals qualifier.  Finishing immediately behind Billing, in fourth, was Sky Adams from Brown University while Anne Heager from Boston College finished first, just ahead of Dennis. 

Also similar to the New Englands was the point spread amongst the top finishers at the nationals.  Heager, a senior, a previous singlehanded national champion and also last year's ICSA Women's College Sailor of the Year, finished with a commanding lead while the Yale women finished within 10 points of each other and nearly thirty points ahead of fourth. 

15 races were completed over the course of the three day regatta while the wind and air temperature both increased by the day.  Sunday saw wind speeds in the 20-knots range and highs in the upper 50s.  Also the event website reports that the state of the lake was "lumpy and confused".  As they proved by their results, the Bulldogs felt relatively close to home in these conditions since Yale has one of the few other open-water collegiate sailing venues.  Dennis and Billing's coed teammate, Cam Cullman, also demonstrated the Bulldogs strength and comfort in Chicago by winning the ICSA Men's Singlehanded Nationals, which took place simultaneously with the women's nationals.

Dennis, who has not finished outside of the top two at the nationals in her collegiate sailing career, only finished outside of the top five in four out of the 15 races sailed.  Billing finished seven of the individual races inside of the top three.  And to top it off, the two teammates finished the regatta by taking first and second in the last race.  Possibly that final race was an expression of how the two Bulldogs intend for next year's results to look when they return to the nationals as seniors.

Final results from this year are posted on TechScore.       

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity

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