After winning a head-to-head tiebreaker against Eckerd, the Harvard co-ed sailing team finished ninth in the Moody Trophy, hosted by the University of Rhode Island, with 162 points on the weekend.
The 19-team regatta saw very inconsistent weather patterns. After warm temperatures and strong winds on Saturday, Sunday brought light breezes, and races were consequently canceled after attempting to wait out the conditions.
Five Ivy League teams were in attendance, including Yale, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth. Cross-town rivals Tufts, MIT, Boston College, and Boston University also participated in the regatta.
Saturday’s races were marked by close finishes and crowded mark roundings. Both Crimson teams participated in eight races during the day and registered single-digit finishes in half of those.
“We showed improvements over the course of the day on Saturday,” junior Luke O’Connor said. “In both divisions, we did not have a very good first set, but by the last few sets we were very consistent.”
Harvard’s Division A boat, skippered by sophomore Brian Drumm and crewed by O’Connor and freshman Jacob Bradt, finished in 13th place with 86 points. After just one top-10 finish in the first five races, the team posted three in its last three races to catch Hobart College and William Smith College, though Harvard ultimately fell in a head-to-head tiebreaker.
“We had a little bit of starting problems, especially at the beginning of the day,” O’Connor said. “We felt good about our boat speed and boat handling most of the day. We had some opportunities to have some great races that ended up being mid-fleet races.”
The Crimson’s Division B boat fared better, earning 76 points en route to a 10th-place finish. Skippered by sophomore Michael Drumm and crewed by junior captain Benjamin Lamont, the boat logged four finishes in the top eight, three of which came in the final four racess. Harvard placed just four points behind ninth-place finisher Connecticut College.
Stanford took second place in the A division of the Moody Trophy with 31 points and first place in the B division with 30 points.
The Cardinal ran away with first place overall, beating out second-place Brown by 18 points and topping Harvard by 101 points.
The Crimson has been focusing on the fundamentals this season and has shown improvement with each regatta.
“Sailing is a sport which can get incredibly complicated, and it’s crucial that each little piece is in place,” freshman Andrew Mollerus said. “The team has done a really great job at breaking everything down.”
With the exception of a second-place finish in the Tufts Central Series 1 in early September, the Crimson has struggled to come up with favorable results this season. Harvard graduated a talented class of seniors last year, and the young makeup of the team has made it difficult to find consistency. The men’s team only has two seniors on the roster, while the women’s team has none.
“This year is definitely a rebuilding year,” O’Connor said. “We have a few good sophomores and some really promising freshmen.”
Among the biggest losses has been former captain Brendan Kopp, who graduated last year after being named an All-American skipper by the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association. He and junior Sarah Pierson helped lead Harvard to a fifth-place finish in the ICSA/Gill Coed Dinghy National Championship last year.
“Kopp was definitely a big loss,” O’Connor said. “The year before, we also graduated a number of talented seniors, including three really good skippers, so last year we actually surprised a lot of people by still doing very well.”
With such a young team this year, the Crimson is expecting to keep improving throughout the season and into the spring.
“We are making some really great improvements,” Mollerus said. “We have a lot of people who by their junior or senior year are going to be some of the top sailors in the country. We are building towards a strong end of the fall season and a really big spring season.”
Harvard will race in the Women’s Intersectional at Yale next weekend, and the co-ed team will travel to Dartmouth for the Captain Hurst Bowl. The Crimson is looking to capitalize on its potential and improve upon this week’s result.
“We would love to crack the top five in Intersectional, which we haven’t done yet,” O’Connor said. “Right now, qualifying for ACCs is our short-term goal, but we are really looking toward the spring and toward next year for more long-term success.”