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Sailing Rides Variable Weather to Middling Finish

Cut No Corners
Harvard sailing rounds a buoy during a sunny race on the Charles.

In its penultimate weekend of racing in the 2016 fall season, the Harvard sailing team was unable to continue its recent streak of successes. The group faltered in its quest to claim glory in its two regional championships.

The women’s and co-ed squads earned similarly middling results, finishing ninth and 13th, respectively. All weekend the teams fought through testy-yet-varied racing conditions.

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“We didn't have the strongest season this fall, but I think we did a good job taking advantage of the opportunities we had,” sophomore skipper Nicholas Karnovsky said. “We have a young team and definitely made some major strides by the end of the season, as everyone stepped up their game. I think we have a strong future in store.”

WOMEN’S ATLANTIC COAST CHAMPIONSHIP

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Racing in Charleston, S.C. to compete for the regional championship trophy in Z420s, the Crimson failed to capitalize on some of its early successes. Contending against eighteen other schools in the region, Harvard finished in the top half of the event with its ninth-place, 318-point result.

“We're very proud of how far we've come this season as a women's team,” junior skipper Taylor Ladd said. “We have learned a lot and put up some really great results. This weekend was no exception, and we're feeling proud of our performance but also excited for next season to show we can do even better.”

Harvard fared better in the shiftier conditions that were present in the early races. But the team could not continue its solid showing as the breeze steadied to a brisk 10 to 18 knots and as the Charleston current performed its daily shift.

Sophomore skipper Taylor Gavula and senior crew Emma Wheeler started off strong in the B-Division, as they led the division at the regatta’s midpoint after three first-place finishes in individual events. But the duo’s luck ran out on the second day of racing, as the pair continued to slide down the leaderboard on Sunday after posting comparatively meager results. Gavula and Wheeler finished the weekend in eighth place in the division after tallying 158 total points.

In the A-Division, Harvard was unable to replicate its fourth-place finish in the Victorian Coffee Urn regatta that helped propel the squad to the championship just two weeks ago. This time the program’s 160 points were only good enough for an eighth-place divisional result.

In the first six races of the weekend, the veteran duo of Ladd and junior crew Kristin Anderson finished mostly with middling results. A second-place finish in their second race helped the pairing to seventh place overall after the first six races had been completed. Freshman Lucy Wilmot replaced Ladd as the boat’s skipper for the four remaining Saturday races after Ladd could not continue due to illness. Ladd returned on Sunday, and the boat performed increasingly well as the day wore on.

Coast Guard, Boston College, and the University of Rhode Island all made the podium with their respective 179-, 216-, and 239-point performances.

ATLANTIC COAST CHAMPIONSHIP

As the co-ed racing was hosted by MIT on the Charles River Basin, this Crimson contingent was not required to travel as far for its event. But the limited travel provided no advantage for the co-ed team over the women’s squad, as the former placed 13th after a 361-point performance.

Wind conditions posed a challenge for all of the competitors, as the five- to 12-knot breeze continually progressed westward throughout the racing. However, Harvard fared better as the regatta wore on, displaying its ability to adjust to a changing environment.

“The conditions on the river were particularly challenging this weekend, and the competition was incredibly strong,” Karnovsky said. “While we weren't able to come away with the result we were looking for, we now have a very clear picture of what we need to get better at this spring.”

Junior co-captain and skipper Nick Sertl and sophomore crew Christine Gosioco led the way for the Crimson in the event after tallying 161 points over their 18 races, which was good enough for ninth place in the A-Division. The pairing closed out the regatta strongly after struggling in the earlier races of the weekend, finishing in the top half of seven on its final ten races.

In the B-Division, Karnovsky, sophomore skipper Jackson Wagner, sophomore crew Alejandra Resendiz, and senior crew Julia Lord combined to produce a 12th-place finish. While Harvard’s 200-point performances was similar to that of 13th-place George Washington University, the Crimson came out on top as a result of a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Host MIT claimed victory in the eighteen-school field with 245 points. Tufts and the College of Charleston were not far behind after tallying 256 and 267 points, respectively.

—Staff writer Jackson M. Reynolds can be reached at jacksonreynolds@college.harvard.edu.

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