The Harvard Sailing team, led by Captain George Putnam, has qualified for the New England Sloop Championship this weekend, highlighting a successful Fall season that included a first in the Big Three Championship.
A Harvard crew, skippered by Putnam and including seniors David Brownley and Francis Ganong, and sophomore Tim Black beat crews from the University of Rhode Island and MIT at the Coast Guard Academy in New London on September 17.
This was a surprising finish since Harvard most often sails in dinghies only half as long as the 24 ft. sloops.
The top two boats in the New Englands this weekend will go on to the North American championship this spring in Texas. Coach Mike Horn said yesterday that Putnam's crew had a good chance of winning the New Englands, although a Harvard boat has not won in ten years.
Harvard maintained its sailing superiority over Princeton and Yale September 30 by successfully defending its championship in the Big Three race on the Charles.
This race, in which three crews from each school race in one big heat, is unusual in that it demands team racing tactics that are absent from most regattas.
Often, crews will try to prevent an opposing crew from showing well even though they also finish poorly as a result. Chris Middendorf, Tim Black, and Clem Wood were Harvard's skippers for this race.
Putnam's winning efforts in the sloop division and Tim Black's first place finish in the two-man dinghy race were not enough to overcome a powerful Tufts team in the Hap Moore Trophy Regatta at New London on September 24.
Harvard finally beat Tufts in the Wood Trophy competition at New London on October 1. However, MIT won this regatta in which each team was required to change skippers in each of the eight individual races.
The MIT sailors also edged Harvard in the Greater Boston Dinghy Championships held at MIT on October 9. Putnam and Middendorf led the Harvard effort with a second in the A division.
In the only intersectional competition so far this Fall Harvard sailors placed second among 14 schools that competed for the Denmark Trophy on the Thames River at New London on October 7 and 8. The depth of the Harvard team accounted for this fine performance which included third and fifth places in the two divisions of dinghies.
Horn said he was pleased with a "better season than I thought we would have." He pointed especially to victories over Tufts which was fourth in the North American championships last year.