Sailing Coeds Qualify for National Semifinals

In the grand scheme of things, Rhode Island and Connecticut aren’t that far away from the Charles River, but the big breezes of the open water seemed worlds away from the protected Charles to which Harvard’s sailors have grown accustomed.

But a change in the winds couldn’t slow down the Crimson coeds, who managed to qualify for the national semifinals in California. The coeds’ finish was the highlight of a weekend of strong performances by Harvard’s two sailing teams.


All the Crimson coeds had to do to qualify for the ICSA Eastern Dinghy Championship Semifinals at Long Beach, Calif. was place eighth. Instead, Harvard far exceeded its goal with a fourth-place finish in the Port Judith Refuge.

“Overall we’re very pleased,” senior Teddy Himler said. “We really showed a lot of heart, a lot of effort...Each member of the team put the team on their back.”


Senior John Stokes sailed in the first two B Division races, before Himler took over for the remaining nine. Sophomores Jason Michas and Alma Lafler and senior Meghan Wareham crewed in the division, with Lafler racing with Himler for the final seven races. The five sailors combined for a first-place finish, a second-place finish, four third-place finishes, and two fifth-place finishes.

“In those conditions when people are flipping, we were able to stay disciplined and make fewer mistakes,” Himler said.

Just as impressive was the performance of its A Division sailors: senior skipper Alan Palmer and sophomore crew Ryan Byrne.

Palmer and Byrne raced together for 11 of the 12 races. The Crimson placed fifth in the division after recording a first-place finish and three second-place finishes in the individual races.

“They worked really hard,” Himler said. “Alan was a total beast, trimming in the main, hiking. Ryan is a really strong guy, put all his muscle into it.”

“We had some really good finishes,” Palmer added. “We had a few other ones where we had some major screw-ups...In general, I think we were pretty fast, especially in big winds and big waves which we don’t practice in.”

While the Crimson still needs to finish in the top-eight in Long Beach in two weeks to earn the right to head to Portland, Ore., for the national championships, the results gave the coeds confidence in their chances to excel on the biggest stage.

“Should we do well in California, these conditions—big waves, big wind, cold water, should prepare us well for nationals,” Himler said.


While it did not obtain the same success as the coed team, the women’s sailors still managed to post several strong finishes en route to a 10th-place overall finish on the Thames at a regatta hosted by the Coast Guard Academy.