It’s hard to believe that I will be graduating from Yale in a week. Here is my final report from New Haven with a few highlights from this spring followed by a snapshot of my upcoming summer and fall plans.
Spring started with the Yale Sailing team's spring break trip to Florida. We had excellent sailing conditions and got in a lot of team race practice which helped us to win the Duplin Trophy, the all women's team race regatta hosted by Tufts every year. The first fleet race regatta of the season was the Navy Women's Intersectional where I placed 4th in A division, 1 point out of second. The regatta was sailed in extremely light conditions and I was happy with the result after not having raced a 420 or FJ since November. The following weekend was the Truxtun Umstead Coed intersectional, also at Navy, where I won the 20 team D division in radials. Trux marked the end of my college sailing days at Navy and after 16 regattas there over the past four years, it was great to beat the boys and go out with a win in D division and as a team! After Trux, we won the Duplin trophy, followed by a 1st place finish at the Women's Dellenbaugh Intersectional at Brown. At the Dellenbaugh, we started out slowly on Saturday, struggling to be consistent in the crazy conditions. Sunday was straighter winds and breezier and we pulled out the win by winning the last 6 races as a team! After the Dellenbaugh I won A division at the Women's President's Trophy at BU. It was a great regatta to get comfortable in shifty conditions ahead of our NEISA Women's Championships, the nationals qualifying regatta, which was at Tufts on Mystic Lake. Our team placed second at the NEISA champs guaranteeing us a spot in the national championships without having to sail the semi-finals.
At the NEISA women's championships, I was a recognized as a finalist for NEISA Women's Sailor of the Year and an All-NEISA women's first team skipper for the second time in each. The regatta was a great team effort and a satisfying end my college sailing in NEISA. My final college sailing regatta will be the ICSA Women's Dinghy Nationals at St. Pete, FL from May 21-24.
It will be strange to actually close a chapter in my sailing career but I am anxious to get laser sailing. After nationals I am moving back to San Francisco to train full-time. For much of the summer I’ll be training with a number of international laser sailors and the rest of the US team in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz. I will be racing the US Nationals in radials at the end of June in Santa Cruz followed by the PCCs in the Gorge at the beginning of July. The international racing schedule begins at the end of August with the European championships in Dublin, Ireland. Radial World Championships are at the end of September in Rizhao, China which will conclude the summer racing schedule in October.
In other news, I have launched my campaign website www.clairedennis.org which has more information about my schedule, is a great place to find frequent updates about my training and events, and my campaign fundraising!
Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to updating you on my campaign once I officially start sailing full time on June 1st following college nationals!
Thank you so much for your financial support that allowed my crew, Annika G., and I to race in the 2012 Orange Bowl Regatta. I felt honored to represent California at this event. We placed seventh out of seventy-four C420s; we felt very accomplished because this was our first top ten finish at a big regatta. Also, I can honestly say that I came back a better sailor after this: I learned so much about C420s in general, sailing in big fleets, starting, and even personally maintaining a steadier mental endurance throughout a long regatta. The CISA C420 coach, Sydney Bolger, was so great and helped us so much. She is both a great sailor and coach, especially for Annika and me, because she really understands what it’s like to be a small girl-girl team in heavy wind. It was also so great to see my sister Nikki and her skipper, Will L., win the whole C420 fleet! This whole regatta was such an amazing experience and I cannot thank you enough for your support that abled us to race. Without you, our participation in this regatta would not have been possible. Thank you!
Words can hardly express my gratefulness for the grant I received to go to Orange Bowl. One of my last major travel regattas as a junior sailor, the regatta held special significance for me before I even arrived. I wanted to make sure I did everything in my power to help my skipper, Will L., and my regatta be as successful as possible. Your grant allowed my family and me to worry less about money and more about racing.
After attending the CISA Clinic each year for the past four years, I've been so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from an array of incredible coaches. Not surprisingly, CISA gave its Orange Bowl kids this year another set of outstanding coaches. Thank you so much, not only for the grant, but for these amazing coaches. Sydney Bolger, who coached me in the C420 fleet, not only gave great advice on the water, but also provided an example of a sportsmanly, dedicated, and talented sailor herself. I know all of the kids she coached really looked up to her.
Winning Orange Bowl was an amazing moment, but the meaning of the success has resonated to become something even more important. I've realized the possible outcome when I do my best, and that has inspired me to continue to work my hardest in college sailing to attempt to achieve similar success. Will and I both put in many hours of practice and preparation, and I am so thankful that our regatta results reflected that.
Your grant for Orange Bowl, as well as many prior regattas, hugely helped any sailing successes Iíve had. I cannot thank you enough! I will never forget your generosity, and I hope that someday I too can be part of an organization that supports young sailors.
I wanted to take the time to thank you for the generous Orange Bowl Grant and coaching this past December. I had a blast and would not have been able to attend if it wasn't for CISA. I crewed for Scott S. and we finished 10th in the C420 fleet. We had a few BFD's and some rough races but fought back to the top ten. This was my last Orange Bowl and I really appreciate all you have done to make my junior sailing years the best ever.