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A Convincing Fall Finale

By Samuel C. Scott, Contributing Writer

As the Harvard sailing team prepares to furl its sails and hang its boats up to dry for the last time this fall, optimism and satisfaction prevail in the Harvard Sailing Center.

Both co-ed and women’s teams capitalized on late-earned bids to the Atlantic Coast Championships, in which the co-ed squad took second and the women sixth over the weekend.

“We’ve still got it,” said captain Laura Schubert, who did not participate in the action.

The weekend’s finishes helped resolve whatever uncertainty hung over team at the beginning of the season, when it faced the loss of two top skippers—one to graduation and one to a semester’s study abroad.

Struggles in important midseason regattas sustained those grounds for concern until four of the Crimson’s best skippers posted top-five finishes in the Singlehanded National Championships and returned for the season’s final stretch.

“We’ve been seventh or eighth in a lot of the intersectionals this season, so to finish second in the second most competitive regatta of the fall…really shows we’ve improved a lot this season,” said sophomore Clay Johnson. “It’s promising for this [spring] season as well.”

That season will begin after the ice breaks on the Charles River.

“I’m very pleased with the results,” said junior Ruth Schlitz. “What’s even more pleasing is I don’t think we sailed our best, and I think we have the potential to be much better than that. It’s very reassuring to know that had we been on top of our game we could have finished much better.”

CO-ED

The Crimson’s co-ed contingent stayed near home, scooping snow out of the boats at MIT to sail for the Fisk, Harriman and Sleigh Trophy against the best teams from the East Coast.

Harvard fought wintry temperatures and shifty winds and took second to Brown in an 18-team field.

Freshman Kyle Kovacs skippered Harvard’s B-division boat to victory with sophomore Emily Simon at crew.

The pair entered the 16th of 18 races trailing Brown by two points but won the race to take the lead, which they maintained by keeping ahead of the Bears and top-contender Yale in the final race.

“After sailing on Saturday, I felt like I could go out and win it [Sunday],” Kovacs said.

The B-division boat won three of 18 races and finished second in three more.

“We were carried by Kyle Kovacs,” Johnson said. “To win your division in the Atlantic Coast Championships is one thing—to do it as a freshman is another.”

The team’s A-division boat finished among the top, placing fifth. Johnson skippered, while Schlitz crewed for all but the two races in which sophomore Samantha Fink took over.

“I sailed all right,” Johnson said. “I didn’t sail as well as I could have. It was good enough to get the job done.”

The Crimson started unevenly but improved with time.

“The conditions were slightly less fluky, but I would say that the defining characteristic was we were much more on top of our game on Sunday,” Schlitz said. “We sailed better.”

WOMEN

The Harvard women suffered a visiting team’s disadvantages, enduring travelling difficulties and unfamiliar sailing conditions as they took fifth in Charleston, S.C. over the weekend at the women’s Atlantic Coast Championships.

The team’s plane left Boston late Friday night, so the sailors missed their connecting flight and arrived in Charleston early Saturday morning.

To make matters worse, their luggage had been lost, leaving them to sail the next morning on little sleep and with borrowed gear.

While they encountered favorable wind conditions, they also had to race in one to four-knot currents, which they do not face in practice.

“I think we did remarkably well considering we were completely out of our element the first day,” said junior Sloan Devlin.

Skippered by Devlin and crewed alternately by Christina Dahlman and Mallory Greimann, Harvard took fifth in the A-division.

Their boat scored last in one race for crossing the starting line too soon.

“I didn’t hear the race committee call my number because I was on the other side of the line,” Devlin said. “I had a good race, but it didn’t count.”

Junior Jessica Baker skippered the B-division boat, crewed by captain Daphne Lyman, to an eighth-place finish.

Host team College of Charleston won the regatta, picking up six race wins in the B-division and three in the A-division.

“All of us were a little bit tired from the season in general,” Devlin said. “We had a solid performance and it was a good way to end the season.”

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