Julia Nagel/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Sailors fought to find passing lanes as an easy breeze made the competition sharper in St. Mary's City over the weekend.

October 6, 2021

Sailing Vies for Sixth-Place Finish in Women’s ACC Semifinals

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The Red sailing finished sixth out of 18 teams this weekend in the Women’s ACC first round regatta, held in St. Mary’s City, Maryland, on Oct. 2 and 3. Finishing within the top nine teams, the Red qualified to compete in the Women’s ACC Championship Finals at Harvard on Oct. 16 and 17.

This weekend, the Red raced against 18 of the country’s 36 best intercollegiate women’s sailing teams. Among the sailors this weekend, the Yale Bulldogs placed first in both divisions, skippered by twins who sailed in U.S. 2020 Olympic qualifier regattas.

“Not only was it a challenging field of competitors, but the conditions were really challenging as well,” Head Coach Brian Clancy said. “I think overall, we handled it quite well.” 

The division A boat finished 12th in its division, sailed by senior skipper Brooke Shachoy, freshman crew Amelia Neumann and junior skipper Lillian Myers, who skippered for the 13th race in Shachoy’s place. The division B boat finished fifth in its division, sailed by freshman skipper Bridget Green and junior crew Gabbi DelBello. 

“Everyone’s skill was so high that there was little separation between boats,” DelBello said. “The time between the first boat crossing the finish and the last was only minutes.”

Sailors battled light winds and sunny skies in St. Mary’s City over the weekend. Easy breezes compounded mistakes, and sailors fought to find passing lanes.

“The starts and the first upwinds were just very competitive,” Neumann said. “You had to put yourself in a spot where you’d be able to maintain the whole race.”

Clancy commended the crews’ sailing in particular for keeping the Red competitive over the weekend.

“The crews on the team really made a big impact on the regatta, from a leadership standpoint,” Clancy said. “They were really focused, and that’s really helpful for everybody else.” 

As a crew for the division B boat, DelBello had to make hard decisions to beat the competition. This fall season, DelBello and Green have emphasized trying to exhibit consistency in strategizing an approach and sticking to it. In the previous weekend’s Susan Rogers ’75 Memorial Regatta, the pair finished in second overall.

“In sailing, there is never one thing that always works. There is never one right answer and things are constantly changing,” DelBello said. “Bridget and I struggled to transition to a new strategy, because our old one had worked consistently for the past three regattas.”

Over the weekend, the boat struggled to make high-placing efforts, and DelBello said she knew they needed to change tactics. 

“I feel like something clicked in my strategic decision-making skills,” DelBello said. 

After switching gears, the boat’s performance soared. In the last two races, Green and DelBello finished with a two and one, their only first-place finish of the regatta. 

“It felt so satisfying that by the end of the day, we had it figured out,” DelBello said. “It was too bad the wind was dying because I think Bridget and I could’ve continued this upward trend, but that’s the nature of the sport.”

Three other teams finished fourth in the Tom Curtis Memorial Regatta this past weekend in Washington D.C., a coed competition racing against five other schools.

The Red will compete in the Coed ACC Semifinals competition in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Stu Nelson Women’s regatta in New London, Connecticut, on Oct. 9 and 10.