On a gorgeous day at the Edgewood Yacht Club, the wind hovered at a mild 5-8 knots — not too strong a breeze, but just strong enough to propel Harvard to a third-place finish at the Sherman Hoyt Trophy last weekend. Junior skipper Eli Burnes, junior crew member Emily Wang and sophomore crew member Eric Hansen scored an impressive 123 points in the A-Division, while sophomore Emma Kaneti and junior Emma Jakobson managed a stellar 100 points en route to Harvard’s second consecutive top-three performance at the Hoyt Trophy. Harvard placed first at the regatta, which is annually hosted by Brown University, last year.
Although the team finished strong, it was not smooth sailing for Harvard during the entire regatta. In its first two races of the Hoyt Trophy, Harvard Sailing’s A team stumbled to 14th- and 12th- finishes to put the team in a deep hole. These early struggles threatened to derail Harvard’s performance at the event; however, both the A and B squads put up a string of strong performances to bring Harvard up to third place. Tying Harvard’s best result of the young season, the third-place finish highlighted a weekend of four regattas against tough competition.
According to Burns, staying tough mentally was key in order for him, Wang and Hansen to rebound from the tough start.
“We had a bad day [Saturday]. I was not at my best.” said Burns. “At the end of Saturday — I sailed with [Wang] — she and I were eleventh in the A-division. But Monday we came back and I was super focused and we put together a lot of great races. [The next] day, me and [Hansen], who I sailed with on Sunday, we moved up to fifth and then we got third overall, which is definitely good.”
Harvard also performed well at the annual Harvard Invitational, securing a fifth-place finish against 16 other teams. In the A-Division, junior skipper Owen Schafer and first-year crew member Chris Wang scored an impressive 25 points, while sophomore skipper Paul Kuechler and crew members Katie Barkin and Bridget Sands put up a solid 40 points in the B-Division.
Harvard Sailing had an additional pair of regattas to close out the weekend, placing 10th in the Hood Trophy and 12th in the all-women’s Mrs. Hurst bowl. Although these lackluster results were slightly disheartening following the strong performances at the Hoyt Trophy and Harvard Invitational, the team is very happy with their season thus far. According to first-year walk-on crew member Alex Lee, the group has been working hard in practice to prepare for its races.
“We’re really making the most of our practice time.” said Lee. “We get there, we do our warm ups, then we go right to the drills. A big thing we wanted to work on this year was boat handling, [which is] how the skipper and crew work together. I think we’ve been doing well so far.”
In addition to continuing with their training regimen and work ethic, Harvard Sailing will also focus on training younger, up-and-coming sailors on the squad, such as walk-ons like Lee.
“We have a lot of new freshmen, and we’re trying to train a bunch of new walk-ons right now and that’s really exciting.” said Burns. “A lot of the freshmen are really talented, so as the season goes on, we’ll see how they do.”
The team looks to build on its strong performances in the Hoyt Trophy and Harvard Invitational when it competes in four regattas hosted by Connecticut College, United States Coast Guard Academy, MIT, and Tufts next weekend.