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Crimson Crew: A Light at the End of a Long Tunnel

Sailors Breeze Into Season With High Hopes

By Francis J. Connolly

When everyone else in the University is down sailing the bounding main somewhere off Florida, popping open a Budweiser or three as they head their Sunfishes into a friendly southern sunset, there will still be a few hardy souls braving the Cambridge smog for the sake of real maritime glory. For the Harvard and Radcliffe sailing teams, spring break won't be much of a break at all--just another chance to prove their mettle as they head off in pursuit of some post-season championship silverware.

Coach Michael Horn's charges have reason to keep in practice. Coming off a second-place finish in last weekend's Boston Dinghy Cup regatta, the varsity sailors will have their tillers full trying to keep abreast of the always-tough armadas from Tufts, Yale and the University of Rhode Island in the race for a season-end berth in the North American championships. 'It's a rough year in the Northeast," Horn notes, and with only three of the top teams qualifying for the year-end shindig the team will have to keep its sails trim all the way.

But the varsity sheet-stretchers should be able to give the opposition a tough time. Led by former Olympic hopeful Terry Neff, senior Tom Reps, and junior co-captains Russell Long and Jim Hammitt, the sailors breezed home ahead of top-ranked Yale and traditional powerhouse Tufts in last weekend's meet, trailing only URI. The national sailing journals rate the Crimson between sixth and eighth in the nation, and Horn is confident his crew will wind up the season even better than that.

Nor are the Radcliffe sailors anything to luff at. The women are the only team in the country that has made it to the championship regatta for the last nine years running, and they don't intend to let that record sink this year.

Sophomore captain Laura Brown sees good things on the horizon this year. With Princeton, last year's champion, hurt by the graduation of its star skipper, she thinks the 'Cliffe can make its move to the head of the fleet by blowing past perennial rivals Tufts and MIT. Behind Brown and "A" Division skipper Bam Mack, the women will face their first test at a New England Women's Intercollegiate Sailing Association invitational regatta at MIT tomorrow morning.

A Merry Jig

Following along in the squadron line are the freshmen, who really bring a smile to Horn's face. Last weekend skippers Steve Strittmatter and Nick Stone led the yardlin shipmates past the Coast Guard Academy and B.U. to take home first place at the season's first freshman invitational. "It looks very promising, to say the least," Horn says, with visions of first-place silverware undoubtedly doing a merry jig through his head.

So with meets coming up at MIT and B.U. this weekend, the Crimson squads will be eager to test out their early-season water wings, no matter what their friends are doing down south. "People just have more psyche in the spring," Brown says--and no doubt the sailors will be out to show that they've got more of it than anyone else afloat.

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