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The Harvard sailing teams traveled to Maryland last weekend, with the women continuing their season at the St. Mary’s Womens Intersectional and the the co-ed team opening its campaign in the Truxton Umsted Regatta at the Naval Academy.
The Crimson co-ed team finished in third place on the strength of its B and C boats. That finish came in spite of a slow start in its first action since the fall and the second day of competition canceled by a lack of wind.
“We finished in third, but we were hoping to repeat our winning performance of last year at this regatta,” senior Clay Bischoff said. “I think we started to get in the groove by the end of Saturday, but the wind failed to fill in on Sunday.”
Junior Dan Litchfield and freshman Ruth Schlitz were a big part in Harvard’s success, piloting the second boat to a third place finish. The highlight of their run was two first place finishes in four races near the midpoint of the regatta.
“Dan Litchfield and Ruth Schlitz had an outstanding performance in B-division,” Bischoff said.
Another outstanding performance was turned in by freshman Vince Porter, competing in the C boat, who had the highest Harvard place of the day. Porter finished second overall, after a strong start with a first place finish, two seconds and a third.
The A boat of Bischoff and senior Lema Kikuchi and the D boat, piloted by junior John Mulcahy, had more difficulty and finished in eighth and ninth places, respectively.
Although Bischoff described the team’s finish as decent, placing in the top three in the season’s first regatta without any practice time shows the talent on the Crimson roster. That statement was echoed by the latest Sailing World Rankings, where the Crimson maintained the top spot. Next week, Harvard competes for the Owen Trophy at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the Southern New England Team Race after a week of practice.
In another part of the state of Maryland, the women’s sailing team was competing at St. Mary’s and ran into the same weather conditions that hampered the co-ed team. Unlike their co-ed counterparts, the women’s Sunday competition was still held amid light air, but the Crimson had a difficult second weekend of the season, finishing in tenth place.
The A boat was captained by freshman Genny Tulloch and crewed by junior Liz Lord. The duo struggled at times, posting three finishes at No. 14 in their first five races.
But where the A boat struggled, the B boat was able to gain ground on its competitors. Captained by seniors Clemmie Everett and Zoe Epstein, the second boat put together a strong final four races, securing a fourth and a fifth place finish and finishing first in the last run.
“We had good boatspeed, some good starts, and we were able to get our heads out of the boat enough to look upwind for puffs and shifts so that we were able to put together some solid races,” Everett said.
The B boat’s strong performance wasn’t enough to redeem the women’s team in the eyes of a the Sailing World Rankings, as the team dropped from No. 5 to No. 8. But rather than worrying about polls this early in the season, the Crimson plans on taking advantage of the warm weather—and the now fluid Charles River—to get some practice time under its belt. The women will begin their Spring break sailing for the President’s Trophy at Brown next weekend.
—Staff writer Timothy M. McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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