The Harvard sailing team began its new season in a slightly unfamiliar place.
The Crimson finished behind host Dartmouth and Tufts in the Captain Hurst Bowl Regatta—a disappointment only compared to the Crimson’s success last season, when Harvard won college sailing’s top honor, the Fowle Trophy, and its first-ever North American title.
This season represents a rebuilding year of sorts, as Harvard looks to replace three prominent departed seniors including Susan Bonney, two-time women’s national champion Margaret Gill, and the ICSA College Sailor of the Year Sean Doyle.
At Dartmouth, Harvard’s ‘A’-boat featured junior Cardwell Potts and a crew rotation of senior Lema Kikuchi and sophomore David Darst. The ‘B’-boat was captained by senior Dan Litchfield and crewed by co-captain Michelle Yu.
The team attributed part of its relatively low finish to some early-season ineffectiveness and occasional mental mistakes.
Harvard’s ‘A’-boat finished in 7th place, while the ‘B’-team finsihed a more solid third.
“We sailed pretty inconsistently at this regatta,” Yu said. “But we definitely improved over the course of the weekend.”
The team started much worse than it finished, beginning Saturday near the botton of the standings and steadily climbing throughout the two-day event, ultimately to the third slot.
The ‘B’-boat in particular was successful, with Litchfield replacing Doyle, Yu’s captain from last year, almost seamlessly. Their third-place finish was the high point of the Crimson weekend.
Yu did find a certain comfort in the fact that the Crimson, far from sailing at its best, was not far behind the compettition.
“A lot of errors we made this weekend were unforced,” Yu said. “Those can be fixed.”
Hopefully in time for Harvard’s next event, which begins Saturday at King’s Point in the Nevin Trophy Regatta.
“We need to get back into the whole racing mindset,” Yu said. “I’m still optimistic about our chances for the season.”