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Sailing Earns Three Podium Finishes at Weekend Regattas

The Crimson takes the water in 2019, the last regular season of Harvard sailing. The intervening layoff since the 2019 campaign has presented challenges in establishing rhythm and executing clean starts.
The Crimson takes the water in 2019, the last regular season of Harvard sailing. The intervening layoff since the 2019 campaign has presented challenges in establishing rhythm and executing clean starts. By Timothy R. O'Meara
By Erignacio Fermin Perez, Contributing Writer

The Harvard sailing team is back in action with its eyes set on the national championships. The team captured a trio of top-three finishes last weekend, marking one of its best weekends of the 2021 season.

Harvard won the Lark Invitational and finished in third place in the Danmark Trophy and in the first round of the Women’s Atlantic Coast Championship.

At the Lark Invitational, held at Tufts, Harvard finished atop a 20-team field with 58 points. The second-place team, MIT, was close behind, with a final score of 59 points. The lower score earns the higher finish.

The Crimson also had a solid performance in the first round of Women’s ACC, with 205 total points, landing the team a third overall finish. The podium finish qualified Harvard for the second round of the Women’s ACC, which will be held Oct. 16-17. With a 62-point difference between the Crimson second-place Brown (143), the team is focused on improving its performance.

“In general, being consistent with fleet management is something we are working on as a team, so hopefully we will be able to improve on that for the second round,” Harvard co-captain Emma Kaneti said.

At the Danmark Trophy regatta, also held last weekend, the Crimson finished in third place with 191 points, landing it behind Boston College and Yale. The first-place Bulldogs finished 28 points ahead of Harvard.

“We are happy with the efforts that the kids have put in, but we have identified some areas for improvement,” Harvard head coach Michael O’Connor said.

O’Connor added that the team will focus especially on starting races going forward, a particular concern for the squad so far this season.

“We didn’t sail as well as we could at any of the regattas,” O’Connor said. “We had some struggles on the starting line at times, which is a very crucial point in the race.”

After missing all of last season due to Covid-19, the Crimson is trying to get back into the rhythm and re-establish its usual flow.

“It was hard to not be able to sail all of last year,” Kaneti said.

“The transition into the academic demands and balancing the time with the athletic demands has been pretty difficult on a lot of our players,” O’Connor added.

O’Connor added that “the captains have set a good example in every way.” The sailing team is co-captained by Kaneti along with senior Eric Hansen.

“The more experienced upperclassmen sailors dedicate a lot of their time to helping the younger sailors,” Kaneti said. “Although it was unfortunate that we missed a year of competition, I think that it made us that much more grateful to have the privilege of being on this team.”

The team has high hopes for the rest of the season with the second round of the Women’s ACC around the corner.

“We plan to put forth our best effort and hopefully be in a position to win,” O’Connor said.

Harvard will compete in four regattas this weekend: The Coed Atlantic Coast Championship, the Smith Trophy, the Stu Nelson Trophy, and the Hewitt Trophy. Five weekends of sailing remain before the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Singlehanded Championships on Nov. 6-7.

“The goal is always really to just win nationals, or do as well as we can,” Kaneti said.

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