Varsity sailors got off to a successful start this weekend in competition for the National Intercollegiate Championship. Crimson Yachtsmen sailed away from five unimpressive opponents to win the NEISA Championship Eliminations Sunday on the Thames River, home waters of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
The day before, Coast Guard sailors had asserted their extra-territorial rights over the Thames, winning an informal Raven race in which Yale finished second and Harvard, who didn't take a race all afternoon, wound up third and last.
Different opposition Sunday led to different results, however. Crimson sailors assured themselves a place in the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association Dinghy Championships May 12 and 13 by amassing a total of 76 points, well ahead of the 60-point score on which both Babson Institute and the University of Rhode Island ran aground.
In fact, the hottest competition of the afternoon matched the two Harvard boats skippered by Carter Ford and Mike Lehmann in the race for individual honors. With three firsts and three seconds in six "A" Division races, Ford led the field with 39 points, while Lehmann copped "B" Division with four firsts, a second, and a fifth to close the afternoon with a point total of 37.
This weekend Crimson skippers will have a preview of the NEISA finals when they race a group of Boston collegiate teams for M.I.T.'s Owen Trophy. Teams from B.U., B.C., Northeastern, M.I.T., and Babson will compete with Harvard for the trophy, which Harvard last won in 1954.
With a record for the season featuring mostly second and third place finishes, Harvard has beaten at least once all the contenders for NEISA championships without having compiled an outstanding list of victories. Inconsistency of individual skippers has hurt the Crimson all seasons. But if Ford and Lehmann are both at their best in the next two regattas, Harvard could sweep the river both this weekend and in the finals, which determine who will go to the National Championships in June.
It was inconsistency which held Harvard to a third-place finish in the race for the Boston Dinghy Club Cup, April 22 and 23. Lehmann won the individual highpoint honors, scoring 181 out of a possible 210 points. Ford did poorly, however, and the Crimson finished with 224--15 behind B.U.'s winning total.