After graduating a talented class of seniors last year, the Harvard sailing team is finding it difficult to find its footing early on in the season.
The co-ed teams traveled to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., placing 14th at the Danmark Trophy Regatta. Meanwhile, junior Morgan Russom from the woman’s team headed south to Connecticut College to take 9th place at the NEISA Women’s Singlehanded Championship.
“[Losing the seniors has] changed our ability to compete at the top level,” Crimson coach Mike O’Connor said. “Right now we’re working on our game and trying to come around. Instead of playing at the front of the fleet, we’re at the back or the middle, and that’s something that we’re trying to change.”
Despite unimpressive results, the Harvard sailors noted the importance of their consistency during the regattas.
“We didn’t put up any stellar results, but it was good to be able to be consistent,” sophomore Michael Drumm said. “A lot about sailing at a high level is about consistency; you don’t need to win every race to win the regatta. Consistency is key, and you can gain that by eliminating mistakes.”
The Harvard co-ed team raced in unfamiliar gaffe-rigged boats to finish 14th in the 20-team field at the Danmark Trophy Regatta.
“We just didn’t have any experience with these gaffe-rigged boats, so we didn’t really know how it worked,” sophomore Gram Slattery said. “We knew we were going to have to build up our experience in this type of boat.”
The Crimson squads faced an added challenge of sailing in difficult weather on the Thames River, which differs greatly from the familiar Charles River. The A-division team of junior Alma Lafler and sophomores Gram Slattery, Michael Drumm, and Brian Drumm had a rough start but finished strong, as the trio recorded top-10 finishes in its last three races. They ended up with 127 total points, good for 16th place.
Freshman Andrew Mollerus, junior Alma Lafler, and sophomore Brian Drumm manned the Division B boat for Harvard. The sailors recorded top-five finishes in their first two races but couldn’t maintain that performance, as they faded to an 11th place finish of 90 points.
Three of the Crimson’s Ancient Eight rivals were also in attendance at the regatta. Boats from Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown joined Harvard on the Thames over the weekend.
The Brown A-division boat led their team to victory by finishing in the top five in all but two races. The Bears tallied 119 points overall en route to the win.
NEISA WOMEN’S SINGLEHANDED CHAMPIONSHIP
Facing tough weather conditions as well, junior Morgan Russom of the women’s team finished ninth out of 18 sailors in the NEISA Women’s Singlehanded Championship. A shifty wind and rain presented a challenge to the sailors in the regatta.
Russom also found herself racing in an unfamiliar boat, as the competitors raced in laser boats. The junior is used to competing in the conventional college boat, the FJ.