"There they go! Someone just capsized! It was very spectacular! It was remarkable; you should have seen that," Dave Brownlee exclaimed yesterday as he told The Crimson about this year's sailing team. Brownlee, a varsity sailor, was in Harvard's new sailing pavilion overlooking the Charles River Basin as he spoke.
"It's very windy, rainy and cold down here today," Brownlee continued, as the hapless sailors floundered in the slimy 45 degree waters of the Charles River.
Such are the travails of Harvard's sailing team, a perennial powerhouse in New England sailing.
Between 1968 and 1971, Harvard sailing squads won more events than any other New England team, coach Mike Horn '63 said yesterday. Although Horn said things have been somewhat leaner for the men's varsity in the past two years, he is optimistic about his team's chances in this weekend's Ivy League Championships at Yale.
Horn pointed out that Harvard finished ahead of all Ivy challengers last weekend in qualifying for the New England Dinghy Championship.
The varsity's capture of the Greater Boston Championship on April 16 is another reason for Horn's optimism. He also said that his 25-man varsity includes five "outstanding skippers:" Brownlee, Clem Wood, George Putnam, Tim Black and Chris Middendorf.
Tufts and the University of Rhode Island, which finished ahead of Harvard in last weekend's regatta, will be the team's top competition for second place in the New England Championships. According to Brownlee, first place has virtually been conceded to MIT, which he called "the dominant team in New England right now."
A second-place finish still allows a team to go on to the North American Championships, held this June in Forth Worth, Texas.
The freshman sailors are a contender in their own right. They came in second in the Greater Boston Freshman Championships, led by Terry Neff, Chris Hornig and Jacob Kohlhass. Last Sunday, Neff and Hornig qualified for the New England Single-Handed Championship along with varsity sailors Brownlee and Wood.
Although it's the top-ranked skippers who get the glory, Horn called Harvard's sailing program "very informal," and added, "We don't cut anyone. We try to give everyone the opportunity to sail." Everyone, that is, who can survive a few accidental dousings in the Charles.