NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 1 Yale women's sailing team will race for a ticket to the nationals this weekend at the Women's New England Championship. The top two teams at the regatta will earn automatic berths to the ICSA Women's National Championship. Meanwhile, the remainder of the top seven will move on to compete in a semifinal championship where they will have to finish in the top nine to move on to nationals.
The "New Englands" will be hosted by the US Coast Guard Academy on the Thames River in New London, Conn. Sailors will compete in both FJs and 420s with A and B division switching fleets halfway through the event.
Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs won a regatta at the very same venue with the very same format. In fact, the Bulldogs' spring season results in general bode well for the upcoming weekend. They managed to finish seventh at the President's Trophy last weekend, despite their top sailors taking the weekend off, and prior to that they had not finished outside the top two at any event.
Yale has finished second at the New England Championship two years in a row now. Technically second is as good as first since it secures the team a spot at the nationals. Nonetheless, one can expect that the Bulldogs are hungry to bring home the conference title, especially since most members of last year's team are returning.
That said, winning will not be easy. Even for the No. 1 team in the country. The New England district is known for being the most competitive of the five national districts and it's not just talk. The top three teams in the national rankings are from New England, as are seven of the top ten—all of which will be competing this weekend.
Junior skipper Morgan Kiss will sail with senior crew Amanda Salvesen in A division, as they have done for most of the season. However, junior crew Katherine Gaumond will sub in for Salvesen in stronger winds. Kiss and Gaumond won the final race at this regatta last year when the wind came up and they were put together.
For seniors Marlena Fauer and Eugenia Custo Greig, this will be the last regular season regatta of their collegiate sailing careers. They will represent the Bulldogs in B division which they won by 25 points at the Wick Trophy hosted by Coast Guard two weeks ago.
When asked about the team's approach to the event, Fauer responded by saying, "we are taking it race by race and staying focused on our individual performances. We will use what we learned at Coast Guard two weekends ago to do the best we can."
Sophomore skipper Marly Isler and freshman crew Clara Robertson will also travel to New London with the team. They had a breakout performance at the President's Trophy last weekend where they won A division.
After the recent temperature downturn, the Bulldogs can look forward to a high of 60 degrees on Saturday. Saturday is also expected to see the best wind of the weekend with 10-12 knots from the northwest forecasted. Sunday is looking like it will be significantly cooler with the wind blowing from the east, meaning cross-river and most likely very unsteady.
Follow the Bulldogs results online here as they vie for a national championship berth.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity