The Radcliffe Sailing team lost to MIT last Saturday as skipper Barb Grant and crewman Ann Hoffner had difficulty with MIT's new Lark Sloops.
The competition included one crew from Radcliffe, MIT, and Boston University--each team racing five times.
Grant was lending both the first two races until she veered off course and had to change directions to go around marks on the course that she had missed.
Grant said later that she thought other boats were heading towards the marks as a strategic move, but then realized that the marks were part of the official course.
"At times we were sailing as fast or faster than MIT, but we just didn't have enough experience in the new sloops," coach Mike Horn said after the race.
MIT acquired the new sloops at the beginning of last summer, and has been practicing in them for a long time. Neither Radcliffe nor B.U. had sailed in the Lark Sloops until last weekend's competition.
The Harvard Sailing team also did poorly this weekend placing third behind Tufts and MIT at the MIT Open Invitational on the Charles last Saturday.
The meet was designed to give experience to the never skipper. The Tufts coach felt that his second best skipper needed some experience winning, and his sailor responded by sweeping his division in the two-man dinghies.
Ogden Ross skippered the Harvard B crew to a second place as Alex Webb provided good support as crew. After a shaky start that included two ninth places, skipper Steve Saudek and crewman Ted Kramarczky came back to take thirds and fourths in the remaining races.
Horn called the whole affair a flukey day in which "the first two races were something of a crap shoot."
In continuing action, Harvard placed third behind the Coast Guard Academy and MIT in the Donaghy Bowl competition on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester on Sunday.
This race is also traditionally for inexperienced skippers. The Coast Guard used it to test its first crew while other schools sent their unseasoned skippers.
The Crimson were within four points of the lead until the sixth and final race. Skipper Clem Wood took a disastrous last in that race in the A division, while the Coast Guard won both final races. Skipper Alex Webb, with a crew of Doug Libby, placed first in the B division of that competition.
Despite this weekend's setbacks, Horn expects that Harvard's overall depth will give them a good chance to win the two New England Team Racing Competitions to be held next weekend. "I was quite happy with the individual performances, especially Alex, and Steve and Ogden who did well on Saturday," he said.