The Harvard sailing team had a disappointing weekend, as the squad was unable to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Tournament at the 73rd Professor Schell Trophy hosted by MIT.
The women’s team also failed to qualify at the 48th Victorian Coffee Urn, which the Crimson itself hosted. However, as the one bright side of the weekend, the freshman team turned in a solid performance to earn third at the Nickerson Trophy at Tufts.
73rd ANNUAL PROFESSOR SCHELL TROPHY
Harvard went into the weekend ranked seventh nationally and fully expected to finish within the top seven amongst the New England teams at the regatta, and thereby qualify for the upcoming Atlantic Coast Tournament at Connecticut College.
However, the weather conditions were awful throughout the competition. On Saturday, there was only enough wind for one race in each division.
On Sunday, the wind picked up enough to hold the competition, but the environment was still extremely tough for the athletes.
“The wind was...blowing from Cambridge,” junior Michael Drumm said. “When the wind comes over land and through the buildings, it becomes very unstable. The wind comes down very quickly and in many different directions, so you have to really position yourself well on the race course to take advantage of all these changes. [If] you do that well, you get ahead very easily, but if you don’t, then you’ll do very poorly.”
The Crimson sailors were not able to perform as they would have hoped under the circumstances, and ended up finishing in a disappointing twelfth place.
“We had problems with our decision-making,” Drumm said. “The wind was very shifty, and in order to do well in races you had to not only see where all the wind was and the shifts, but you also had to make the correct decisions of where to go. We might have been recognizing where the wind was, but we certainly were not making the right decisions consistently.”
Failing to qualify marks the meaningful end of the fall season for Harvard, though the team will compete at regattas next weekend. Moving forward into the offseason now, the squad will look to turn its potential and promising start to the season into better outcomes come springtime.
“We basically have to learn how to race better,” Drumm said. “We can do a lot of the boat handling and a lot of the general components of racing well, but we have to do a lot better at putting the entire thing together. We have to make fewer mistakes, and we have to recognize what’s important in each race.”
48th VICTORIAN COFFEE URN
The women’s team was also trying to qualify for the Atlantic Coast Tournament. The Crimson hosted the 48th Victorian Coffee Urn regatta on the Charles River.
Poor conditions again plagued the weekend. A total of three races were commenced on Saturday, but not one was completed because of a sheer lack of wind. When the wind picked up on Sunday, the competition proved too tough for Harvard, as the team finished in fifteenth place with 163 points. The U.S. Naval Academy took first place with 78 points, and Rhode Island picked up the final qualifying spot, finishing eighth with 127 points.
While the Crimson’s other teams failed to qualify for the ACT, the freshmen put in a very consistent team performance. Racing at Tufts, the home Jumbos came out on top, followed by Dartmouth. The Crimson followed in third.
“I think we were just generally able to sail more consistently than most of the other teams there,” Mollerus said. “We never sailed any race outside the top six, [we were] one of the only teams to do that all weekend.”
Conditions were tough again with turbulent winds, but while other Harvard squads faltered, the freshmen managed to adapt successfully.
“I think [the conditions] were really tough—probably the toughest we’ve sailed in all year,” Mollerus said. “It was really a challenge to try and pick out what little wind there was, and at the end of the day we were just able to do that a little better than other teams.”
—Staff writer Julian Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.