No. 1 Bulldogs Ready For a Break

Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Chris Love, Sailgroove)
Claire Dennis and Heather May. (Photo by Chris Love, Sailgroove)

NEW LONDON, Conn. – The No. 1 Yale women's sailing team's last weekend of the fall season did not go exactly as planned.  Light and variable winds combined with strong currents made for challenging racing at the Women's Atlantic Coast Championship where the team finished eighth overall.  This was the first time that the Bulldogs have finished outside of the top three all season long.

A mere total of six races were completed on Saturday of the championship—four in A division and two in B division.  None of those races were sailed in more than six knots of wind.  However, the Thames River current was plenty strong due to the runoff from the recent storms.

Sophomore crew Katherine Gaumond, who sailed in B division for the Bulldogs on Saturday, said that she and senior skipper Claire Dennis "were constantly deciding whether to sail for the pressure or the shift… it was a difficult decision at times."  The shift would point them closer to the next mark, but "boats were going backwards at points" when there wasn't enough pressure to overcome the current, reported Gaumond.      

The Bulldogs were second in the standings after Saturday's racing, but more than half of the regatta was to be sailed on Sunday.  On Sunday, four races were completed in A division and six in B division for a total of eight in each on the weekend.

Sunday had slightly more wind than Saturday, ranging between five and ten knots from the south.  Junior skipper Marlena Fauer, who sailed A divsion for the Bulldogs on Sunday, reported that "it got really shifty at the top since the windward mark was right near the land."  

Even though Yale changed skippers and crews between each day of racing, the team's A and B division boats finished with just one point of difference in their respective scores.  They each had three top five finishes, but four double-digit scores as well.  That said, only one boat in the entire event managed to avoid a double-digit score this weekend.

This may not be the result that the Bulldogs were hoping to end on, but when considering their fall results as a whole, it was certainly a successful season.  They will now take a well-deserved, three-month break before returning to competition in March.  During that time off, the Bulldogs will continue their physical training routine, but otherwise be left to take advantage of opportunities that they often cannot due to athletic commitments. 

The Bulldogs have a lot to look forward to in the spring because the spring season culminates in the ICSA Women's National Championship.

Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity