Freshman standout Vince Porter led a solid showing by the Harvard men’s sailing team at Connecticut College this weekend, but the Crimson sailors ran into trouble before they ever hit the water.
While en route to the Men’s Single-handed Elims on Sunday, the axle on the Crimson’s Laser trailer broke during an uphill climb, nearly causing an accident.
However, Coach Bern Noack’s quick reflexes and calm handling of the situation allowed him to guide both the van carrying the seamen and the damaged trailer to the side of the road.
With less than an hour until the scheduled start of the regatta, there was little time to wait for help to arrive. Rather than wait, the Crimson emptied all unnecessary items from its van—tires, dollies, even seats—in order to squeeze the boats inside.
The sailors loaded two of the boats inside the van and secured the third to the roof before taking off for the regatta, leaving what resembled a flea market in their wake.
After arriving at the race site, the Crimson’s fortunes finally began to look up.
The regatta is a qualifier for the New England Men’s Single-handed Elim, featuring 23 of the top Laser sailors in the region, each vying for a slot in the critical late-season meet.
The Crimson’s Laser sailors each rose to the occasion and turned in solid performances. Porter dominated the event, winning three of the six races and capturing the regatta’s overall title.
Porter overcame not only stiff competition but also damage to his boat’s hull resulting from the accident.
“I was just as fast as, or the fastest boat out there,” Porter said. “And you have to be consistent. These are relatively short courses compared to the ones that I’m used to.”
Co-captain Clay Bischoff turned in a solid performance and captured second behind Porter.
As a result of finishing in the top seven, both Porter and Bischoff earned entry into the New England Men’s Single-handed Elim.
Junior John Mulcahy finished in twelfth place.
On Sunday, the Crimson women were on the water in the President’s Invitational hosted by Boston University.
Despite uncooperative wind conditions, the team continued to build off the previous week’s achievements on the Charles.
In Harvard’s ‘A’ boat, freshman skipper Genny Tulloch and junior crew Liz Lord started off slowly in their first two races, but roared back at the end, closing with first and second place finishes to take third in their division.
The Crimson’s ‘B’ boat, with freshman Sloan Devlin at the helm and classmate Mallory Greimann as crew, performed consistently throughout the competition, winning one race and never placing lower than fifth. The duo placed second within their division.
The combined team effort earned the Crimson first place out of fourteen teams in the day’s competition. Brown and Dartmouth rounded out the top three.
The accomplishments of the freshmen this past month have caught the eye of coaches and teammates alike.
“Our coaches are very excited, especially about the freshmen and how they’re performing,” co-captain Michelle Yu said. “They’ve got a great three or four years ahead of them.”
The Crimson looks to continue its winning ways next weekend at the Danmark Trophy Regatta in Conneticut at the Coast Guard Academy.