Two weeks after the Harvard Sailing Center first began sinking into the Charles River in the wake of a powerful Nor’easter, the Harvard sailing team is still without a permanent training facility for the rest of the spring.
University spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman wrote in a statement on Tuesday that although the barge beneath the center has been “restored,” the facility will be closed for the remainder of the season.
“The floatation device underneath the Harvard University Sailing Center was damaged by the winter storm impacting the area on Thursday, March 8th,” Goldman wrote. “It has been temporarily restored, but will remain out of use until the conclusion of the sailing season in the spring, at which time we will determine the next steps for this facility.”
Although the facility is no longer at risk of sinking, men’s captain Nicholas Karnovsky ’19 said the team is still taking account of the financial damage and lost gear that resulted from flooding in the men’s locker room.
“I would say at this point only four or five men on the team are missing some gear,” Karnovksy said. “It’s hard to value that right now because we’re still trying to figure out what people lost exactly, but it’s probably several hundred dollars a person.”
Karnovsky said while “it wasn’t a complete surprise,” that the 47 year-old building sustained damage during the storm, the damage was “way more drastic than anything that has happened in the past.”
In the meantime, the team has been sailing out of MIT’s boathouse, just a quarter-mile away from the sailing center. Karnovsky said that while the team is grateful to MIT for hosting them, sharing facilities with two other teams can be complicated.
“We switched to practicing out of MIT’s facility, they’ve been extremely gracious to host us,” said Karnovsky. “The Northeastern team also sails there so there’s just a lot of teams at their boathouse at once so it’s just been a little complicated to get everyone into the right boats and out of everyone’s way.”
Karnovsky said one of the biggest challenges the team faces is not being able to use all of their boats due to limited dock space.
“Half the boats that we have access to are on our docks, but we don’t have enough dock space so [the rest are] still hanging in our boat house,” Karnovsky said.
Women’s captain Jessica R. Williams ’20 said that despite the relocation from their home training facility, the team is focused on finishing out the rest of the season. The team has won races for the past two weekends.
“I think everyone is really on the same page in that we’re a team, and this Harvard sailing team isn’t the boathouse,” Williams said. “Even if the boathouse is no longer used it really depends on our own dedication and commitment, and we’ve been doing pretty well the past two weekends so I think that that shows.”
In an email, head coach Michael O'Connor praised Williams and Karnovsky’s leadership on the team, and echoed their beliefs that team is set on moving forward.
“I am very pleased with our team’s ability to stay focused on our goals. We are determined to keep improving and sailing to the best of our abilities,” O’Connor wrote. “Jess Williams and Nick Karnovsky have done a great job leading the team through all of these recent changes.”
—Staff writer Madeleine R. Nakada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Harvard Sailing Center Sinks into Charles River