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A good portion of the Harvard student body spent last week’s spring break listening to the gentle lull of waves against the shore.
The Harvard sailing team did as well, but in the less tropical waters of Maryland, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island and, of course, the Charles River.
Competing in seven different regattas, the co-ed and women’s teams logged three first-place finishes, two third-place finishes and a handful of lower results.
Over the break’s first weekend, the Crimson performed impressively. The co-eds took third at the competion for the Owen Trophy at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The A boat of freshman Vince Porter and senior Michelle Yu finished tied for second with Hobart, but won the tie-break to clinch the top spot.
The team’s second boat, skippered by junior Gabe Dorfman and crewed by a rotation of sophomore Jenny Wong and sophomore Clemmie Everett, finished sixth. The team’s high finish was impressive given the weekend’s conditions, which included a change from FJ boats to vanguard 15s and new skipper-crew combinations.
The same weekend, junior Gabe Jostrom had the unenviable task of being the only competitor representing the Crimson at Atlantic Coast Monos. Jostrom battled strong tidal currents and a driving rain, finishing near the bottom of the pack in his first collegiate sailing event.
Apart from Jostrom, the Crimson’s solid team experience showed through in the other two events of the weekend.
The co-ed team, under junior captain Cardwell Potts, captured first place in the Southern New England Team Race at Connecticutt College. The team finished ahead of rival Tufts, as well as Ivy competitors Brown and Yale.
The women’s team placed first in the President’s Trophy regatta at Brown. Taking the trophy was a triumph on two fronts. Most obviously, was the domination of the B boat. Junior captain Jennie Philbrick and her classmate and crew Diana Rodin came in first place, winning the second division by a huge 24-point margin, showing the Crimson’s depth.
“The margin was large enough to give us the edge over the rest of the field,” Philbrick said. “And when the scores from the two divisions were combined we had fewer total points than our closest competitors—Dartmouth and Brown.”
That success bodes well for later in the season when the women’s triumph will take on additional meaning. Brown is the site of national qualifiers this year, and if nothing else the team will have a lot of confidence in returning to this site.
While the second weekend of racing wasn’t as successful as the two team’s first, the finishes from last Saturday and Sunday were still solid. In a series of smaller races at BU, Harvard captured a fifth and a third place. The women’s team sailed on Mystic Lake against teams from across the Northeast, taking fifth place overall, and in both the A and B divisions.
The team was a little disappointed in the fifth-place showing.
“[It was] somewhat disappointing,” Everett said. “We had been in contention for first all day Saturday, and then had some bad luck on Sunday.”
The co-ed team suffered no bad luck at all, posting the best results of the weekend and winning the Boston Dinghy Club Cup by a strong 73-point margin. Led by seniors Clay Bischoff and Dan Litchfield, Yu, Potts and Porter, the team secured top finishes in both the A and B divisions, and captured second and third, respectively, in the C and D divisions.
“The team sailed extremely well at the BDC, especially in light of the fact that we had just one full day of practicing on the river before we left for our spring training trip [to St. Mary’s in Maryland],” Yu said.
With two weekends full of top-flight finishes, the Crimson seem to be hitting stride and ready for the bulk of the season. Other coaches certainly thought so; the co-ed team maintained its top overall slot and the women’s team held steady at No. 8 in the latest College Sailing World poll.
Next weekend, Harvard’s sailors will compete in the Friis Team race at Tufts and the Ferrarone Team Race at Yale, and a handful of other sites.
—Staff writer Timothy M. McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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