Women’s Boats Won’t Join Sailing Team at Nationals

Although the Harvard coed sailing team will be gearing up for national qualifiers this weekend, the women’s team will miss nationals for the second year in a row after finishing in 10th place amongst a crowded 18-team field at the New England Women’s Championships last weekend.

Harvard’s A boat—consisting of sophomores Jennie Philbrick and Diana Rodin—came in 12th, while fellow sophomores Caroline Dixon and Emily Nielson finished ninth in the B boat.

“That was the toughest competition we faced all year,” Rodin said. “We definitely got results that we can all be proud of.”

The top six boats at the Women’s Championships, held at the University of Rhode Island, advanced to the national championships at Hawaii starting in late May. But like last year, the Crimson will not have a representative at the women’s event, one of the six competitions that determine the winner of the Fowle cup, given to the overall sailing national champion for the 2001-2002 season.

Harvard history, however, has proven that a berth in all six championship events is not essential to winning the overall national championship. Last year the Crimson won the Fowle Cup despite not fielding a team in the women’s championship.

The Harvard coed sailing team had better luck last weekend. Competing in Connecticut at the Thompson Trophy Fleet Racing Championships, Harvard took first place in the regatta sweeping both the A and B divisions. The Thompson Trophy was a difficult race this year because of a strong, shifting wind that made the seas unpredictable.

“The shifty conditions made it difficult to be consistent,” junior co-captain Michelle Yu said.

The Thompson Trophy was an especially important regatta this year as the venue is also the site of the Coed Dinghy Fleet Racing national qualifiers two weeks from now, and as such it represented an ideal practice run for that high-pressure meet.

“It was the toughest fleet [to face] that we’ll have until nationals,” junior co-captain Clay Bischoff said.

The Crimson showed strong team depth in the win, taking first place in both the A and B divisions, despite rotating sailors in the A division.

On Saturday, junior Bischoff and junior Lema Kikuchi sailed the A boat while Yu and senior Sean Doyle were piloted the boat Sunday. Senior Susan Bonney and sophomore Cardwell Potts piloted the B boat both days weekend.

“Winning the Thompson Trophy was a good victory to have,” Yu said. “It was a confidence boost for the team.”

The Crimson coed sailers will compete at the Team Racing qualifiers at the Coast Guard Academy in Conneticut next weekend. A strong showing will guarentee Harvard yet another trip to nationals in Hawaii.