NEW LONDON, Conn. – After finishing runner-up in 2012 and 2013, the No. 1 Yale women's sailing team claimed the 2014 New England Championship title this past weekend. They beat out the No. 6 Boston College Eagles who beat them the previous two years.
Contrary to what was said in the regatta preview, finishing first did not earn the Bulldogs an automatic berth to the nationals, but it does qualify them for the ICSA Semifinal Championship. The national championship qualification format was recently amended and now does not involve automatic berths from any of the seven district championships. Instead, the top teams from each district championship move on to compete at either the eastern or western semifinal championship.
Fourteen teams will compete at each of the semifinal championship, eight of them will be from New England, and the top nine at each will get tickets to nationals. The eight teams that will represent New England were determined by the regatta in New London, Conn., this past weekend, which Yale won by 18 points.
The Bulldogs did not only win the New England Championship, they also won both divisions at the event. In A division, junior skipper Morgan Kiss and senior crew Amanda Salvesen finished in the top three in 11 of the 17 races sailed. They finished 17 points ahead of the second place boat in their division. In B division, seniors Marlena Fauer and Eugenia Custo Greig had nine top-three finishes of their own. A first-place finish in the final race of the regatta secured first in the division for them.
Saturday of the regatta was sailed in a northwest breeze that was shifty by most standards but relatively steady for the Thames River. Sunday, on the other hand, had "no pattern" according to Yale assistant coach Bill Healy. Competitors' patience and resilience were tested by a very unpredictable easterly wind.
"Transitions were really important because the wind varied so much," reported Kiss.
Despite the challenging conditions, the Bulldogs emerged New England champions and now look forward to the semifinals which will be hosted by the US Naval Academy at the end of May.
Report filed by Chris Segerblom '14, Yale Sports Publicity