Following a week of preparation in Maryland over spring break, the Harvard sailing teams produced mixed results amidst strong opposition and adverse weather conditions in last weekend’s regattas.
With very little wind to aid them, the No. 12 coed team struggled to a 15th-place finish at the Truxtun Umsted Intersectional, a two-day regatta hosted annually by the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
Among the most competitive collegiate sailing contests of the year, 17 of the 20 teams competing in the regatta were ranked in the top 25 nationally. The event includes two divisions of singlehanded boats in addition to the usual two divisions of doublehanded boats, creating a unique test for the teams.
“This was probably the most challenging fleet we’re going to face until qualifiers later this spring,” sophomore crew Sarah Pierson said.
Senior Brendan Kopp and Pierson paced the Crimson, placing 10th in the A division with 62 points. But Harvard did not fare as well in the singlehanded C and D divisions, in which sophomore Luke O’Connor and junior Jason Michas placed 15th and 17th, respectively.
Despite pleasant temperatures in the high 60s, the unfavorable wind conditions caused numerous stops and starts in the action on both Saturday and Sunday. Races were cancelled for all of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning as teams waited for the wind to pick up and allow competition to resume. In total, each division completed only six races over the course of the weekend.
“If we had had more races and a full regatta, we would have done much better than we did,” Pierson said. “The way sailing works is you have some great races and some bad races, and we ended up not finishing as well as we would have liked.”
Yale won the truncated event handily with a score of 127, giving the Bulldogs a 28-point victory over second-place Tufts.
Despite the disappointing finish, Pierson felt good about the team’s prospects heading into future regattas.
“We can pray for better weather,” Pierson said. “The mechanics are there; our boat handling is great. I think we’re poised to do very well. A lot of [upcoming regattas] are on our home territory, the Charles. We just need to do a little work coming off the starting line and handling other boats, especially in the first critical seconds of the race.”
ST. MARY’S WOMEN’S
The women’s sailing team submitted a strong performance on Saturday, taking fourth place at the St. Mary’s Women’s Intersectional in St. Mary’s, Md. The Crimson registered 122 points, trailing second-place Yale by only five, and boasted the day’s second-best individual A boat, as senior skipper Emily Lambert and senior crew Alexandra Jumper led the Harvard A boat to 50 points.
Tricky winds delayed the start of the event and kept teams off balance for most of the day, but conditions were otherwise favorable, with temperatures cresting over 70 degrees. As with the coed event, the unpredictable winds caused the teams to conduct a limited number of races.
“There were definitely very challenging conditions,” Jumper said. “Very light, very shifty breeze, coming from a wide variety of directions. It was about staying on our toes, being aware of what’s going on, and trying to make the best of it.”