LONG BEACH, Calif. – The last two races of the ICSA Women's Singlehanded National Championship were sailed on Sunday in tricky wind conditions. Every so often an offshore breeze would interfere with the westerly sea breeze, keeping the competitors constantly on their toes in anticipation of major wind shifts. Senior Claire Dennis managed the conditions well, earning herself a third-place-overall finish in the regatta. Senior Emily Billing finished 10th overall, less than 10 points out of seventh.
This regatta marked the end of the two seniors' very successful collegiate singlehanded sailing careers. Both Billing and Dennis have qualified for this national championship every year since they were freshmen. In those four years, Billing never finished outside the top 10 and Dennis never finished outside the top three.
The wind conditions were relatively similar on all three days of the nationals this year. For the most part, the wind blew from the southwest at five to 10 miles per hour. However, every once in a while an offshore breeze would throw the racers a curveball.
Freshman Erica Reineke from Boston College, the same girl that won the New England Singlehanded Championship, dominated at the nationals. She won all but three of the 18 races sailed. Senior Mayumi Roller from St. Mary's College of Maryland finished second, 54 points behind Reineke.
Both Reineke and Roller have significant laser radial experience at the international level. Reineke was the training partner for the US Olympic representative in the radial class leading up to this past Olympics. Roller actually competed at the 2012 Olympics, representing the US Virgin Islands. Not bad company for Dennis to share the podium with.
With the singlehanded sailing season all wrapped up, the Bulldogs will now focus on finishing the fall dinghy season strongly. Billing and Dennis will both be members of the team that competes at the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship next weekend in New London, Conn.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity