The Yale coed sailing team has completed a dominant regular season and are now preparing for the ICSA Semifinal National Championship in Charleston, S.C. in early June. The Bulldogs captured more individual awards than any team in NEISA, including Rookie of the Year. Reports indicate that Freshman Graceann Nicolosi became the first crew to earn this recognition. She was also named to the All-NEISA Crew First Team and was a finalist for Crew of the Year, alongside teammate Natalya Doris.
We had a chance to interview Graceann about her inaugural season as a college sailor and what she enjoys most about crewing:
US Sailing: What do you enjoy most about sailing?
Graceann: I moved to St. Thomas (USVI) from Chicago when I was about 10 years old and learned to sail at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. I feel really at home on the water, having grown up in and around it. I consider myself pretty relaxed and I really enjoy sailing because it serves as my competitive outlet, where I can race every weekend and continuously learn and improve.
US Sailing: Why do you crew and what do enjoy most about this role?
Graceann: I began sailing more seriously when I started to crew in the 420. Crewing is unique in that it is different for every partnership. One size does not fit all, and what works for two teammates may not work for two others. With that being said, I have learned many different techniques from the various skippers that I have sailed with this past year. Throughout my freshman year, I found a challenge in sailing FJs because I haven’t had much experience sailing them in the past. I’ve been working hard towards cleaning up my boat handling maneuvers and jib trim during practice and applying it at regattas.
US Sailing: How is your team preparing for the upcoming ICSA Semifinal National Championship?
Graceann: Now that school is finished, we have more time to commit to being on the water. Without school, everyone is a lot more relaxed and able to prioritize sailing. We hope to maintain a positive mindset and continue working hard.
*NOTE: Nicolosi crewed mostly for Nic Baird and Mitchell Kiss.