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Sailing Wins North American Team Racing Crown

The Harvard sailing team may have maintained the No. 1 ranking in the nation through the past two years, but the two most prestigious crowns of college sailing—the North American Team Racing Championship and the North American Dinghy Championship—had eluded Harvard sailing for decades entering this weekend.

Not anymore.

Harvard sailing clinched its first North American Team Racing Championship in school history yesterday in Hawaii with an unprecedented display of dominance. The Crimson posted a 17-0 record through three days of competition. The next closest teams, Tufts and defending champion Georgetown, finished well back with 13-4 and 12-5 records, respectively.

Not only did Harvard win all 17 of its head-to-head races, it won them convincingly. In 15 of 17 races, Harvard had its top two boats place 1-2 out of the six boats in the race—each school having three boats. Since the sum of the places determines a team score for the race, and the low score wins, any 1-2 finish guarantees a team victory regardless of the third boat’s finish.

Harvard had finished in second place at the Team Racing Championships last year, when they were held on the Charles. The Crimson lost to Georgetown due to a controversial race in which it felt a legitimate protest was denied.

This year, however, the Crimson ensured that the championship would be decided on the water and left no margin for a disputed result to determine the title.

The three Crimson skippers through the first two days of competition were captain Sean Doyle, junior Clay Bischoff and sophomore Cardwell Potts. Their respective crew were junior Michelle Yu, junior Lema Kikuchi and senior Susan Bonney.

The North American championship was the second that Harvard had won this season. The Crimson was first in the North American Sloops Championships in the fall. There are six major championships each year in college sailing.

Harvard will continue competition in Hawaii over the next three days to decide the North American Dinghy Championship. If the Crimson—runners-up a year ago—can emerge victorious, it will be the program’s first win at the regatta since 1974.

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