The Harvard sailing team concluded an eventful weekend with three top-10 finishes in the 77th Professor Schell Trophy, Nickerson Trophy, and Victorian Urn Trophy Conference Championship regattas. The first was hosted by MIT, the second by Tufts, and the third by Harvard.
The Schell Trophy, featuring 18 teams and 18 races, commemorates Erwin Schell, who was at the forefront of organizing and fundraising dinghy sailing at MIT in the 1930s. On the first day of the regatta on Saturday, the weather maintained a comfortable 70 degrees. The A Division raced in Fireflies while the B Division raced in turbo FJs.
The Engineers jumped to a 33 point lead after the first day of races and finished 64 points ahead of the rest of the field. Roger Williams and Yale rounded up the top three. The Crimson placed eighth with 290 points, finishing six points behind Brown and eight points ahead of Boston College. Harvard barely missed the top seven, which granted teams the Atlantic Coast qualifying spots for New England.
“We knew we had this really regatta coming up,” junior Nicholas Karnovsky said, “so we were working really hard to make sure our boat handling was as good as it needed to be and that we were super focused and super ready come Saturday morning.”
Senior Nick Sertl and junior Christine Gosioco raced for the Crimson A division and accumulated 130 points, including six top-five finishes, while Harvard’s B team of senior Kevin Coakley, junior Nicholas Karnovsky, sophomore Jessica Williams, and freshman Eli Burnes, competed in the B Division and added 160 points of their own.
“So, unfortunately I had a slow start to the day, and we had a couple of bad races to start off, but then we were able to turn it around a little bit, and by the end of the weekend on Sunday, we really had things clicking and were doing much better,” Karnovsky said. “We actually missed qualifying for the championships by six points at of a total of 290. So, in that sense it was really frustrating because we had in all this hard work and it didn’t pay off, but in the long run, it catalyzes us to work harder and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The Nickerson Trophy, held on the Mystic River in Medford, MA, featured winds from the South/Southwest. The field also included 18 teams who each participated in 10 races in Larks. Harvard finished fourth with 128 points, trailing to Stanford, Jacksonville University, and Boston University. Freshmen Henry Burnes and Emily Wang scored 48 points, including seven top-five finishes, in the A Division, good for second. The B division team finished in eighth and added 77 points.
Burnes raced earlier this season in regatta on the Mystic and even practiced on these waters in middle school. However, this race featured new conditions and a fierce field of competition that included some of the best freshmen sailors in the nation.
“I don’t think my sailing there before prepared me because every day is unique and the wind is always slightly different, and it’s also definitely a very variable venue,” Burnes said.
The major axis of the Mystic is situated North-South, and the wind was blowing South to North. Since the breeze roughly followed the path of the water, it acted as a dam and was more consistent than if it passed over the trees and hills on either side of the water.
“It was easier to adjust to then normal,” Burnes added. “It was definitely shifting a lot, but it was pretty easy to get adjusted to, to be able to predict the shifts that happened, and to sail the course fast and strategically.”
The Victorian Urn Trophy, featuring 16 women’s teams in 10 races, saw the Crimson finish in 10th place with 260 points, meaning it missed the top eight to qualify for the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championship. Yale, Boston College, and U.S. Coast Guard Academy comprised the top three.
Seniors Taylor Ladd and Kirstin Anderson scored 119 points in the A division, including seven top-five placements and two first place finishes. In the B division, juniors Taylor Gavula and Alejandra Resendiz, sophomore Lucy Wilmot, and freshman Tess Avery competed for Harvard, added on a score of 141.
The team has one more set of regattas in the winter and will spend the spring preparing for qualifying races.
“So, basically we’re going to spend the next six to eight weeks in the spring making sure we’re performing in tip-top shape,” Karnovsky said, “Come qualifying events, we’ll be ready so that we can go to Nationals.”