Sailing Adds Team Accolades to Trophy Case

Ready About...
Alexandra C. Bell

Led by junior skipper Clay Johnson and junior crew Kristen Lynch, the Harvard sailing team returned to the basics of teamwork. Johnson won the Singlehanded Championship last week but was helped by Lynch on Sunday.

Last week, individual accomplishment garnered most of the headlines for the Crimson co-ed sailing team, as junior skipper Clay Johnson’s third consecutive New England Singlehanded title earned top billing.

One week later, teamwork was once again the name of the game at the Navy Fall Invitational in Annapolis, Md. Johnson and junior crew Kristen Lynch steered the Harvard squad to an A-division victory and a sixth-place overall finish out of twenty teams, while junior Matt Knowles filled in for a sick teammate in the D-division race.

“Last week was more of an exception, since the singlehanded events are rare,” Knowles said. “This regatta was actually one of the most teamwork-oriented because we had all four divisions competing to get the best score overall.”

Said Lynch, “I felt very positively about it; we did very well in three of the four divisions. Coming in sixth overall, even though it wasn’t first or second, was still a very strong showing.”

Johnson and Lynch bested the A-division competition with a total score of 104, earning 22 points of breathing room ahead of second-place finisher Maryland. The duo finished in the top five in 11 out of the 18 total races, including one first-place performance.

The A-division’s finish was especially strong, as Lynch and Johnson placed in the top four in each of the final five races of the competition.

“It was a very, very breezy weekend, so we had an advantage because compared to the other boats we were a little lighter and a little stronger, and able to keep the boat fairly flat,” Lynch said. “It’s a very different game depending on how much breeze there is, and given that it was so breezy, Clay and I had an advantage, and we were able to put on a lot of speed.”

The Crimson finished ninth in the B-division with 166 points, and 15th in the D-division with a total score of 250. Knowles’ D-division score, however, comes with an asterisk attached, as he had just found out on Thursday afternoon that he would be filling in for sick co-captain Sloan Devlin.

“[Matt] was just thrown in there at the last minute, he wasn’t supposed to sail,” Lynch said. “He did very well given the conditions and the fact that it was very last minute.”

“I’m pretty new to the radial,” Knowles said. “I just learned it this summer, so it was a great opportunity to gain some experience.”

Not to be overlooked, senior Vincent Porter’s 76-point performance earned him the top C-Division spot. Porter came in first five times throughout the course of the weekend’s competition, including victories in three of the final four races.

In other weekend action, Harvard fell to a 13th-place finish out of 22 schools at the Yale Women’s Intersectional in New Haven. Host Yale took the crown with a score of 84, finishing 95 points better than the Crimson’s mark of 179.

While Harvard’s A-division squad managed only a 16th-place finish, the B-division did manage to climb into ninth with a total score of 70 points. Persistent, strong winds made conditions especially difficult for B-division racing.

The Crimson also braved the rain to participate in the Reid Trophy at Boston College, but was only able to place fifth out of six teams competing. By winning just two out of ten races, Harvard bested only the University of Vermont.

Next weekend, the Crimson will attempt to capture the Hoyt Trophy at Brown, the Smith Trophy at MIT, and the Nelson Trophy at Connecticut College.

—Staff writer Daniel J. Rubin-Wills can be reached at