Women's Sailing Takes Eighth at Nationals

After finishing its season this past weekend with an eighth-place finish in the Sperry Top-Sider/Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women's National Championships, it is finally summer for the Harvard women’s sailing team.

The team had to travel far from familiar Northeastern waters for the national regatta, as this year’s championships were held on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. The Crimson qualified for the 18-team national regatta with its seventh-place finish in the Women’s New England Championships on Apr. 21-22.

Harvard came in looking for its sixth national championship—and its first since 2005—but finished in eighth, one spot lower than its seventh-place overall finish last season.

Racing began on May 30 with steady winds that reached 12 knots. To advance to the final round of competition, the Crimson had to finish in the top nine during the first day and a half of competition in the semifinal round.

At the end of the first day, Harvard stood in fourth place. And although the team fell two spots in the second day of competition, its sixth-place showing was good enough to advance to the finals.

Senior skipper Emily Lambert paired up with sophomore crew Isabel Ruane, representing the Crimson in the A division, and the tandem scored a total of 60 points in the semifinal rounds. Racing in the B division, sophomore skipper Morgan Russom and senior crew Alexandra Jumper nearly matched their teammates, notching 61 points, to bring the team’s total to 121.

The finals began on May 31 and lasted until June 2. Although the sailors enjoyed favorable weather on the first two days of competition, little breeze on the third day limited the competitors to a couple of races.

But the suboptimal weather did not get the best of Ruane and her teammates.

“We basically took it one race at a time and had to continue to do what we did well and improve on what we didn’t do as well,” Ruane said. “It’s a regatta just like all of the other ones we’ve had this year, so we [tried to treat it that way]. There were different conditions all weekends that required some adapting, so we had to remain consistent despite those conditions.”

Ruane and Lambert continued to compete in the A division. The racing partners finished with 105 total points. Russom and Jumper tallied 113 points in the B division.

The combined score of 218 put the Crimson in eighth place. Boston College won the national regatta with 142 points, just four better than Yale, the runner-up.

Despite finishing near the bottom of the pool of competition in the finals, Ruane said that the team was happy with its performance.

“We trained really hard and expected to have tough competition and hopefully make it through semifinals to the final round and to do our best there,” Ruane said. “We just wanted to see what we could do against the toughest competition we had seen all year.”

Russom agreed but added that the end of the season brings bittersweet tidings.

“We had a lot of good training going into nationals,” Russom said. “We performed really well, and we are happy with our results, but we’re sad that we are going to lose all of our seniors. They really helped to push our team.”

Looking beyond the coming summer, the team has tempered optimistm about its future.

“We are feeling good about our season,” Ruane said. “We are losing two members of the team, so that will be tough next year.  But everyone coming up the ranks did well in this regatta, so that bodes well.”

—Staff writer Blake Sundel can be reached at