Double Victories for Cruising Crimson

Catch Us If You Can
Alexandra C. Bell

The Crimson sailing team breezed by its opponents in last weekend’s competition, winning the Hood Trophy and the Harvard Invitational. Harvard jumped seven spots in the rankings; it sits at No. 3 in the country.

It’s three weeks into the season for the No. 3 Harvard co-ed and women’s sailing teams, and the script for each has gone pretty much the same: win, win, win.

The most recent triumphs came last weekend at two regattas. The Hood Trophy, hosted by Tufts University, saw the Crimson sail to a 36-point win in a 21-team field featuring most of the familiar teams. In A-division, captain Clay Johnson skippered along with senior crew Kristen Lynch, guiding Harvard to a second-place finish behind only the University of Rhode Island. The margin of victory for URI was just three points, and the close finish meant that a relatively strong performance from B-division junior skipper Kyle Kovacs and junior crew Elyse Dolbec give the Crimson the top spot.

That’s exactly what happened, as Harvard tied Boston University for second in B-division to secure the win.

“Our whole team was a little lethargic on Saturday,” Kovacs said. “We were doing okay, not making huge mistakes, but also not getting the top finishes in a row. We definitely rallied on Sunday.”

Boston College took top honors in the division. For the regatta overall, BU and BC finished in second and third places, respectively.

“It’s a very tricky place to sail, with lots of wind shifts and velocity differences,” Kovacs said. “We were on the wrong side a few more times than we would have liked on Saturday, but we figured that lake out on Sunday.”

But the Hood Trophy wasn’t the only thing the Crimson dominated over the weekend. The one-day Harvard Invitational on Sunday saw the Crimson complete its first two-win weekend of the year. Freshman skipper Liz Powers and senior crew Cassandra Niemi turned in a dominating performance in A-division, winning their five-race competition by a combined 13 points. The B-division saw senior Marion Guillaume taking care of skipper responsibilities, while freshman Michelle Konstadt and Niemi shared crew responsibilities.

Though they finished in sixth place, the trio’s performance was still enough to help Harvard to a first-place finish at the home event. MIT, BU, Roger Williams, and Bowdoin rounded out the top five.

The women’s team, who jumped seven spots to No. 3 in the latest Sailing College Rankings poll, traveled to Yale over the weekend to compete in the New England Women’s Singlehanded Championship. Most teams sent multiple sailors, and in the end, it was the host-school that had the most success.

All three of Yale’s teams took the first three spots, with Dartmouth and Tufts taking fourth and fifth, respectively. The Crimson took sixth and seventh places behind the performances of sophomores Megan Watson and Roberta Steele, respectively, in a competition featuring only two seniors.

It was also the third Metro Series event of the year during the weekend, and Harvard just missed cracking the top five by a point in the Saturday event. The Crimson’s sixth-place finish was just a point behind Tufts in fifth place, while BC won the event. Sophomore skipper Andrew Flynn and sophomore crew Lauren Brants sailed in A-division, while sophomore skipper Jon Garrity and senior crew Ashley Nathanson took care of B-division.

“We definitely underperformed,” Flynn said. “We were inconsistent, and we weren’t happy with our performance.”

The Team Racing Series Two featured thirty total races, with each of six schools racing in ten. Boston College’s 9-1 mark was good enough for first place, while Harvard finished in third with a record of 7-3. Although Connecticut College had the same record, the Crimson took third thanks to a tie-braker based on points.

Flynn, Garrity, Nathanson, and Brants sailed for Harvard, in addition to freshmen Drew Robb and Hyungin Kim.

“We were happy with our performance,” Flynn said. “It was a competitive day of racing, and we were pleased that we beat some good teams.”

—Staff writer Malcom A. Glenn can be reached at