Women Sailors Prepare for Team Racing Debut

March 26, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The regatta will take place at the Tufts University Sailing Center on Mystic Lake in Medford, Mass., in the lark dinghy, a one-design sailboat raced regularly by only the Harvard and Tufts sailing teams. Rain and light winds are forecasted for much of the weekend, which bodes for very difficult sailing conditions at a site that is already notorious for unpredictable and shifty breezes.

The Bulldog women representing the team at Tufts will be senior Kate Hagemann, juniors Sarah Lihan and Rebecca Jackson, sophomores Elizabeth Brim and Tatyana Camejo, and freshman Genoa Warner. While this team features extensive experience and depth in a traditional individual boat-on-boat fleet racing format, none of these athletes have competed in a collegiate regatta featuring the 3-on-3 team racing format before. Team racing uses the low point scoring system featured in fleet racing, but instead of individual scoring, the team of three boats is awarded the sum of their finishes. The goal is to use tactics and boat handling to ensure that the other team finishes with a worse combined score than your own team. This type of racing requires precise boat handling, extensive knowledge of the rules and plays, and good boat-to-boat communication within a team.

Despite the infrequent opportunities for the Yale women sailors to team race competitively within the college circuit to test these skills, they have the advantage of rigorous team race and boat handling practice with the No. 4 co-ed Yale sailors on a frequent basis. In addition, the team had weekly team race talks during the off-season to review the complicated tactics, rules and plays featured in team racing.

Lihan feels the team has done a lot of work, both in boat handling and tactics, to prepare and is optimistic about the weekend.

"The Yale women's team does a fair bit of team racing in practice," she said. "It should be interesting to see how practicing with one of the top teams in the country affects our performance."

Racing will begin at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning.

Report by Jenn Hoyle '05, Yale Sports Publicity