NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With the beginning of spring break comes the official beginning of the spring season of competition for the No. 1 Yale women's sailing team. All members of the team will be boarding airplanes on Friday to head south in the direction of St. Petersburg, Fla., where the team traditionally spends its first week of the break training with alumni and sailors from the University of South Florida. However, four Bulldogs will be stopping in Charleston, S.C., on the way in order to compete at the Charleston Women's Interconference regatta this weekend. An additional four team members will be going straight to St. Pete with the rest of the team, but rather than simply start training, they will compete at the Eckerd Interconference Regatta this weekend.
Four familiar faces, all of which were very successful during the fall season, will be representing the Bulldogs in Charleston. Sophomore skipper Marlena Fauer and sophomore crew Eugenia Custo Greig, sailing Yale's A division boat, are looking forward to Saturday morning when they will meet 17 other boats on the starting line for the first time in 2012. However, it won't technically be their first day back on the water this season. The pair was able to get a full day of practice on Wednesday.
In B division, the team's newly-elected captain, junior skipper Emily Billing, is also looking forward to her first weekend of racing in the new year. She will be accompanied by sophomore crew Anna Han who already has one regatta under her belt this season. Han competed at the USF Women's Interconference two weekends ago, aiding the team to a fourth place overall finish.
Competing in A division for Yale at the regatta hosted by Eckerd will be junior skipper Claire Dennis along with senior crew, and former captain, Margot Benedict. While this will also be the first regatta of the season for both Dennis and Benedict, Dennis got the opportunity to race against stiff international competition in the laser radial class at the Miami Olympic Class Regatta in January. Nonetheless, she will have to readapt from single-handed to double-handed boat-handling mode -- something she proved to be very good at in the fall when she finished second at the single-handed nationals in radials and then helped the team to victory at the Atlantic Coast Championship in FJs the following weekend.
Yale's B division boat for the Eckerd Interconference Regatta will be sailed by the only Bulldog crew with two sailors that have actually raced already this season. Freshman skipper Morgan Kiss and sophomore crew Amanda Salvesen sailed to a second place finish together at the USF Women's Interconference regatta two weekends ago. Since then they have had a day or two on the water in North Branford, but compared to many of the other teams that they will be racing this weekend they still have much less recent time in the boat.
Clearly the first weekend is a busy one for the No. 1 Bulldogs, but by Monday morning they will be fully reunited in sunny St. Petersburg, Fla., where they will spend five days sailing and tanning. Between then and now the focus is on obtaining strong results at the two regattas this weekend in an attempt to regain the momentum they had at the end of the fall. Follow along with results on TechScore.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity