In an unorthodox weekend, the Harvard sailing team braved variable conditions and new race styles, culminating in mixed results.
The Crimson hosted the Horn Trophy Team Race on the Charles River, competed in the Sister Esther Open on Narragansett Bay, and traveled to Connecticut for the Hap Moore Team Race on the Thames River.
This weekend saw the beginning of the team racing season, requiring significant adjustment for Harvard sailors. In the Horn Trophy Team Race on the familiar Charles, the Crimson finished third in a four-team field, with its only wins coming in a sweep over MIT.
“Team racing is a really different format from fleet, in the length and how they’re conducted,” junior Andrew Puopolo said.
The conditions, unlike the style of the regatta, were familiar for Harvard. The light wind throughout the weekend was typical for the Charles.
“The team was working very well in unison for the beginning of the team racing season,” freshman Emily Malpass said. “We were pleasantly surprised.”
Adjusting to the new style, the Crimson won two races and lost three.
“It was better than we expected coming in,” Puopolo said.
In addition to the Horn Trophy Team Race, the Hap Moore Trophy Team Race also offered a new challenge with the team format. Harvard yet again experienced ups and downs in this regatta, finishing with five wins and six losses. The Crimson ended up fifth in a field of eight teams.
“Conditions were really rough,” freshman Henry Burnes said. “There was lots of current and the wind was pretty squirrelly.”
Last season, Harvard found more success on the banks of the River Thames. The Crimson recorded an even 9-9 record, good for third place out of seven schools. This year, the unpredictability of the conditions proved challenging, especially in the first weekend of team racing.
“On the upwind leg, we would have the current whipping downwind,” Wang said. “And on the downwind leg we would have current whipping in the opposite way.”
In addition to rough conditions, Harvard struggled with its starts in the races.
“It was a tough weekend, but I think it was a good awakening to have things that we need to work on, like starting.” Burnes said. “And we’ll come back in the spring and focus on improving those things moving forward.”
Despite the tough weather and mixed results, the weekend proved to be a learning experience for the Crimson to prepare for the upcoming team season in the spring.
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