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Clay Johnson and Sloan Devlin finished as runners-up in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association/Vanguard Singlehanded National Championships, held this weekend in Minnetonka, Minn., and freshman Kyle Kovacs and senior Genny Tulloch both placed fifth.
Competitors contended with a cold front pusing through Lake Minnetonka on Saturday, driving 20-knot winds and heavy chop.
“It was very challenging because of the conditions,” Devlin said. “Sailing on a lake in Minnesota in late October is not a good time.
“[Sailing] almost until the Charles River ices over helps us to be able to deal with those less-than-ideal conditions.”
Johnson posted 68 points over 16 races to finish behind Georgetown’s Andrew Campbell, who won the national championship with 32 points.
The Crimson sophomore endured a slightly shaky start on Friday, slipping in the standings to a tie for third place. As breezes picked up, though, the large sailor found his stride and posted four consecutive wins.
Campbell sailed consistently at the front of the fleet, winning six races and never finishing below fifth.
“When he was back in the fleet and in a bad situation, he was always able to come back and salvage a top-five race,” Johnson said. “Every point counts in one of these regattas.
“I was glad that I got second, because I was in a bad situation, but I was able to capitalize. I was happy with my performance, despite the fact that I didn’t win.”
Devlin sailed consistently throughout the regatta, finishing between second and fourth in all but two races and accumulating 54 points overall.
“I knew if I had a good three days I’d be very competitive,” Devlin said. “I was very pleased. I sailed a very consistent regatta, and I didn’t really have any bad races.”
Old Dominion’s Anna Tunnicliffe won seven straight races and 11 overall, earning her third consecutive national championship with 37 points.
“She definitely sailed the boat very well in breezy conditions and has excellent boat-handling in all conditions,” Devlin said.
Kovacs and Tulloch rounded out Harvard’s fleet with two more top finishes.
“We both did not sail particularly well on Friday,” said Kovacs, who endured a start much like Johnson’s. “We did a lot more consistently on Sunday.”
Overall, Kovacs placed third in four races and second in one.
“Going into the event, I felt like a top-five finish would be an achievable goal for me,” Kovacs said.
Like her fellow sailors, Tulloch’s finishes progressed along with the regatta—her weekend was highlighted with a win in the fifteenth race.
“We were the only team there that had four sailors,” Devlin said. “Just in general, Harvard has a very strong singlehanded sailors, and I think we represented Harvard really well. “
The Crimson’s twin runner-up finishes give the team a sizable lead in the standings for the Fowle Trophy. The award is based on team performances in six championship regattas, of which this weekend’s men’s and women’s competitions were two.
“We’ve won the Fowle Trophy four years in a row, and to be this far ahead at this stage of the game is huge,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Harvard’s No. 10 doublehanded dinghy sailors fought heavy winds this weekend, taking sixteenth of 18 teams at the Hoyt Trophy Regatta at Brown University. Sailing 420s in variable breezes, the Crimson posted 430 points, while the Bears won with 135.
“It was pretty cold and pretty windy, and we didn’t have any heavy crews, so we were pretty light in both boats,” said captain Daphne Lyman. “A lot of the other teams, especially the teams that finished at the top, had extra crews that they could substitute in and out when the wind was heavy.”
Matt Knowles skippered Harvard’s A-division into sixteenth place, while the B-division boat, with sophomore Pat Mauro at the helm, took fifteenth.
Splitting between boats at crew were Lyman and sophomore Cassandra Niemi.
The absence of key personnel also hurt the Crimson’s women, as No. 8 Harvard finished thirteenth out of 15 at the Stu Nelson Women’s Regatta at Connecticut College.
The Crimson posted a combined score of 281 in Flying Juniors, while Boston College won with a combined score of 162.
Skippered by junior Jessica Baker and with sophomore Emily Simon at crew, the first boat took tenth in the A-division. The duo finished second twice but was disqualified three times—twice because of other boats’ protests and once because of its own failed protest.
“It was a bit of bad luck and some errors,” said Baker. “They hurt the score, but that wasn’t the main focus of the regatta.”
With freshman Elyse Dolbec at skipper and junior Mallory Griemann crewing, the B-division boat finished eleventh.
“I think we would have liked to have done a little better,” Baker said. “I think overall we had some really good races.”
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