New England Singlehanded Championship This Weekend

Claire Dennis '13 gleefully tacks her laser radial in light air.
Claire Dennis '13 gleefully tacks her laser radial in light air.

Three Bulldogs Will Race For Tickets to the Nationals

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – This weekend, three members of the No. 1 Yale women's sailing team will be racing individually, in laser radials, at the New England Singlehanded Championship, hosted by Connecticut College in New London.  Each of them will be vying for one of the New England district's four berths to the ICSA Women's Singlehanded National Championship, which will be held in Long Beach, Calif., on the first weekend of November. 

This will be the fourth and final New England Singlehanded Championship for seniors Emily Billing and Claire Dennis.  Both sailors were highly competitive in the laser radial class prior to college and their experience has helped them successfully qualify for the nationals each of the past three years.  In their sophomore year, Dennis won the ICSA Women's Singlehanded Nationals while Billing took fourth.  Last year, Dennis and Billing finished second and third, respectively, at the nationals.

Sophomore Urska Kosir is also looking to represent the Bulldogs at the singlehanded nationals this year.  Prior to coming to Yale, Kosir was very competitive in the international laser 4.7 class, sailing for her home country of Slovenia.  In fact, she is the 2009 Laser 4.7 World Champion.  The laser 4.7 is the same hull as the laser radial, but with a smaller sail in order to accommodate smaller skippers. 

At last year's New England Championship, Kosir finished seventh overall, just three spots shy of qualifying for nationals.  However, the steady improvement of her results throughout the regatta shows that she was getting increasingly comfortable sailing with the laser radial rig.  This weekend will show what kind of improvement she has been able to make over the past year, rather than just two days.

When asked what the Bulldogs have been doing to prepare for this weekend's qualifier, team captain Billing reported that they "have been mainly practicing [their] boat handling moves, since the tactics are essentially the same in all boats."  She also added that "it is so nice to have three very competitive radial sailors on the team… We all get to train together, which helps us all improve."

The last time that three Yale sailors all qualified for the women's singlehanded nationals in the same year was in 2009, Billing and Dennis' freshman year.  When discussing the probability of this happening again, Billing said, "I think it is definitely possible."

Follow the Bulldogs' weekend results online using this link.

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity