Without winning any major regattas this spring, the Crimson sailing team firmly established itself as one of the two strongest squads in the East.
The rapid development of junior Tim Prince enabled the sailors to bounce back from a so-so fall season and qualify for the North American Collegiate Championships at Vancouver the week of June 16.
Prince's emergence as one of the top helmsmen in New England is typical of the unpredictable nature of the sport. Long regarded as one of the Crimson's brightest prospects, Prince was plagued by inconsistency as recently as last fall.
From the first regatta of this season, however, it was clear that Prince had developed the self-confidence necessary for consistent success in the large fleets and short courses that characterize college sailing.
In the seven major regattas of the spring, the team had four seconds, one third, one fourth, and a disastrous ninth in the Owen Trophy Races at the Coast Guard Academy April 18. Nevertheless, M.I.T. was the only team that managed to beat the Crimson with regularity.
The second-place finishes came in four crucial races: the Boston Dinghy Club Cup Regatta, the Greater Boston Dinghy Championship, the Ivy League Championship, and the New England Dinghy Championship. Brown took the Ivy title, while M.I.T. won the other three events.
Supplanted by Prince in the "A" division, seniors Dave Stookey and Dave Gants usually shared the helm in "B" and turned in some fine performances. Their graduation this June will leave the Crimson a trifle short-handed in the fall.
Unless Guy Garden, Wilson Halley, or Tom Benjamin develops as dramatically as did Prince this year, the 1964-65 season may have to be given over to a building program.
At the North Americans, which will be sponsored by the University of British Columbia, the Crimson will be facing the eleven best college teams on the Continent. Harvard has been runner-up in this event for the past two years, and the strongest competition this time may well come from M.I.T. and from defending-champion Princeton.
The squad was weakest this year in single-handed racing. Only Prince qualified for the New England Single Handed Championship, but even he was unable to do well enough there to reach the North American single-handed event.
The Friends of Harvard Sailing have made a major contribution to the solution of this problem by donating 5 Olympic Finn Dinghies, which were delivered to the Harvard Yacht Club last week. Practice in these boats next year should enable several Crimson sailors to develop single-handed skills of championship calibre.