NEW HAVEN, Conn.— On Tuesday, the No. 2 Yale women's sailing team will travel to St. Petersburg, Fla., to compete in the 46th ICSA Women's National Dinghy Championship. Eighteen schools will be represented at the event, which is being hosted by the University of South Florida. Racing will take place May 22, 23 and 24 on Tampa Bay, southeast of the Magnuson Hotel Marina Cove.
The Bulldogs are one of nine teams that managed to prequalify themselves for the national championship by finishing well enough at their district qualifiers in April. However, nine championship berths are still unclaimed. Those berths will be granted to the top nine finishers at the Women's National Semifinal Championship which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday morning prior to the start of the nationals. Racing at the semifinals is scheduled to conclude at noon on Wednesday and then at 1:00 p.m. the nine prequalified teams will meet the top nine semifinals finishers on the starting line for the first race of the finals.
The Women's New England Championship on the last weekend of April was the last regatta that the Bulldogs raced in, but they have been practicing hard since then to prepare for the nationals. Since Yale's coed varsity sailing team is preparing for the nationals as well, the two teams have been working together to simulate national-championship-level competition in practice every day.
According to junior skipper and team captain Marlena Fauer, "we have been working on everything that we needed to improve on during the regular season and are definitely prepared to go to Florida."
Fauer will start in B division for the Bulldogs along with either junior Eugenia Custo Greig or sophomore Katherine Gaumond as crew, depending on the wind conditions. Both combinations proved successful earlier this season. Fauer and Greig finished third in A division at the Charleston Women's and Fauer and Gaumond won B division by 25 points at the Emily Wick Trophy.
In A division the Bulldogs will start sophomores Morgan Kiss and Urska Kosir. Last year this duo led the Bulldogs to a close second-place finish at the nationals by winning B division by 26 points. They also have yet to finish outside of the top four in A division this spring.
Also traveling with the team to St. Petersburg will be seniors Emily Billing and Claire Dennis and junior Amanda Salvesen. Billing and Dennis are both past All-Americans and all three sailors have put up strong results this season.
With chances of thunderstorms forecasted until Thursday, the conditions are likely to change rapidly during the regatta and all members of the team will have to be ready to sail at a moment's notice. The sea breeze direction for the national championship racing venue is west, but with a weather system rolling through Florida this week the competitors could see lots of different directions. Predictions for Wednesday call for easterly winds which blow over Tampa Bay with significant fetch and are reported to produce the biggest waves.
After falling just four points shy of victory at the nationals one year ago, the Bulldogs are hungry for another shot at the championship. The Boston College Eagles who beat Yale last year have graduated both of their top skippers, but the Bulldogs will be returning with the same squad. Daily updates on this year's national championship will be available at yalebulldogs.com and regatta results can be found here.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity