The Harvard sailing team doesn’t launch sloops from its boathouse on the Lower Basin of the Charles, but that didn’t stop them from qualifying for the national championships, as they finished second in the New England qualifiers this weekend.
While its youngest talent spread out to a spate of regattas spanning New England, four of the Crimson’s elder statesmen piled into larger craft this weekend at the New England Sloops Championships, held at the Coast Guard Academy.
Unlike fleet or team-racing regattas, which are generally sailed with two hands to a dinghy, or singlehanded racing, in which skippers go solo, fleet racing is sailed in larger, multi-crew boats—in this regatta, Colgate 26s.
Two teams, first-place Connecticut College and the Harvard runners-up, finished well enough to qualify for the ICSA national sloop championship.
“Typically we don’t do the sloop championship. We’ve tried to qualify a few times in the past, but Vinny’s a pretty good sloop sailor and in his senior year, we wanted to try something else,” Johnson said. “Vinny skippers in a sloop, I crew on bigger boats, Matt and Robbie can crew, so we have all the pieces there, but we’ve never put it together before.”
The Camels—who sail from near the Coast Guard Academy—won the last two races to win, but Harvard only missed the mark by four points, 34-38. Dartmouth finished third in the 10-team field, with 45 points.
“Every kind of sailing you do there’s something you can do with it,” Johnson said. “We’re on a quest to get the record for number of Fowle Trophies in a row, so the 10 points [given to the winner at nationals] would definitely help.”
HATCH BROWN AT MIT
Two sophomore talents made a splash this weekend at the Hatch Brown regatta, held at MIT this weekend, as they won the A-division by a vast margin. Skipper Kyle Kovacs and crew Elyse Dolbec finished with 27 points over 10 races, while their closest competitors, Roger Williams College, had 61.
The duo won four sets, finished second in three more, and never finished higher than seventh, leading a team that finished second, a mere six points behind Yale, 165-171, in an 18-team field.
“Yale was sailing their best three skippers at this event, so for us to finish within six points of them with really our top two skippers at Yale was an accomplishment and a testament to the depth of our team,” co-captain Sloan Devlin said.
The Crimson also drew a strong performance from its B-division, skippered by Devlin with junior Christina Dahlman at crew. The only two-woman boat in the division’s top ten, Harvard finished third in the division.
Seniors skipper Jessica Baker and crew Ruth Schlitz hit a spot of trouble in the C-division, finishing ninth.
“In general, the conditions for the weekend were quite challenging, as there was little or no wind and it was especially difficult shifty from the north, which is tough on the Charles because it comes down over buildings,” Devlin said.
WOMEN’S MRS. HURST BOWL AT DARTMOUTH
Despite the dead calm that forced the cancellation of all sailing on Saturday, race organizers managed to squeeze seven sets in on Sunday at the Mrs. Hurst Bowl women’s regatta at Dartmouth.
Harvard perhaps could have used another day of sailing, as the short regatta didn’t give the Crimson adequate time to recover from a few rough starts. Harvard finished 10th of 16 with two freshmen at skipper.
Roberta Steele skippered the A-division with junior Kristen Lynch at crew, and the two got off to a rough start, with two 15th-place finishes, but improved over the course of the day. Megan Watson teamed up with junior crew Sam Fink for ninth in the B-division. Neither skipper had sailed in an intercollegiate regatta before.
“There were no expectations for them,” Devlin said. “It was definitely a learning experience.”
Dartmouth won the regatta on their own home waters.
METRO 2 AT HARVARD
The Crimson finished sixth of 13 teams sailing on their home waters in the regular local series.
Freshman skipper Andrew Flynn took sixth in the A-division with junior Ashley Nathanson at crew. Fellow freshman Jon Garrity skippered the B-division to sixth place as well, as sophomore Ashley Harley crewed.
—Staff writer Samuel C. Scott can be reached at email@example.com.