NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Over the past seven weeks the No. 1 Yale women's sailing team has competed at seven different regattas and its results have earned it the top spot in the national rankings. However, those regular season regattas have just been warm-ups for the Women's New England Championship which is to take place this weekend. The regatta will be hosted by Tufts University on Mystic Lake in Medford, Mass.
The top two teams at this regatta will clinch an automatic berth to the ICSA Women's National Championship in Florida in May. Third place through seventh place will earn tickets to the ICSA National Semifinals where they will have a second opportunity to qualify for the nationals.
Last spring the Bulldogs claimed a one-way ticket to nationals by finishing second at the New England Championship. The Boston College Eagles, who hosted the event, stood between them and the New England district title.
It is a new year though and the Bulldogs are coming off a four-regatta winning streak to end their regular season. One of those four regattas was the Duplin Women's Team Race Trophy, which was also hosted by Tufts in their unusual fleet of boats called "Larks." Larks are two-sail, two-person dinghies just like FJs and 420s, but they have significantly more sail area, higher-aspect foils and are much lighter-weight. Although this weekend's regatta is a two-division fleet race, rather than a team race, Yale's Duplin Trophy victory proves that the team is comfortable sailing at Tufts.
In addition to different boats, Tufts' Mystic Lake is a unique venue to race at because of its size. Wind shifts and changes in velocity can be difficult to predict because all sides of the race course are relatively close to shore.
When asked what the team will be focusing on this weekend, sophomore skipper Morgan Kiss stated that "staying consistent… will be key to doing well at the Tufts venue." Kiss will be starting in A division for the Bulldogs, alongside sophomore crew Urska Kosir.
The Yale coaching staff has yet to announce who will start in B division, but they will be bringing a long list of skippers and crews, none of which have finished outside the top-five at a regatta this season. This list includes seniors Emily Billing and Claire Dennis, juniors Eugenia Custo Greig, Marlena Fauer and Amanda Salvesen, and sophomore Katherine Gaumond.
With the exception of Gaumond, who was racing with the coed sailing team at the time, all of the above sailors raced at last year's New England Championship and helped Yale finish second. The team is looking to take advantage of this remarkable depth once again this year.
Forecasts are calling for a 70 percent chance of rain on Saturday and winds from the west at speeds close to 15 miles per hour. Sunday is supposed to live up to its name and provide northerly winds at around 10 miles per hour.
Competitors are scheduled to report to the venue by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and racing will commence shortly thereafter. Regatta results can be followed here.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity