It was a beautiful weekend in Maryland for the No. 19 Harvard sailing team, which raced in its first regatta of the 2014 spring season Saturday and Sunday. The Crimson finished in a three-way tie for seventh place in the St. Mary’s Team Race, which showcased 420 and FJ racing from 10 schools.
Harvard split its score, 2-2, after the first day, but lost its three races on Sunday to put it at 2-7 and tied for seventh with Fordham and Hobart and William Smith. Stanford took first with a perfect score of 14-0.
“Well, it was honestly not our top performance,” sophomore Andrew Mollerus said. “We have a lot of work to do over the next few weeks. We lost a lot of very close races.”
The Crimson sent mostly underclassmen to compete in the regatta. Along with Mollerus, junior Gram Slattery and sophomore Marek Zaleski acted as skippers. Sophomore Sydney Karnovsky and freshmen Julia Lord and Emma Wheeler were the crews.
“Our recognition of the correct plays was pretty good,” Harvard coach Michael O’Connor said. “But our execution of the plays was not.”
The greatest challenge for the Crimson was its lack of practice during the winter, according to O’Connor.
“Our weekend did not go as well as we had hoped, but it is understandable considering we haven’t been able to practice as a unit,” O’Connor said. “As a result our boat handling was rusty, which limited our ability to execute plays the way we wanted.”
Freezing conditions in Cambridge has kept the Charles solid. Two home regattas, the Sharpe and Wood Trophies, were canceled over the last two weekends.
“We haven’t been able to practice this year due to the conditions,” Mollerus said. “The temperatures have been very atypical.”
The Crimson has been on the water twice for about two hours total in practice this season. Mollerus compared this to previous years, when at this point his team would have been on the water for a few weeks, with 20-30 hours total.
“We’re aware of this disadvantage,” he said. “We’re prepared to put a lot of hard work in.”
Despite the unfavorable results over the weekend, Harvard sailing is optimistic about the upcoming season.
“This regatta was a good starting point for us this season,” O’Connor said. “We know what we need to work on, and we know that we have the potential to play at the top level.”
Warming up for the season is the next step for the Crimson.
“It’s in the team’s mindset to make the big push and shake off the rust,” Mollerus added. “We have the right people and the right set-up, so this race won’t be that big of a setback for us.”
—Staff writer Tanner Skenderian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.