Palmer and Wareham were part of a strong team effort that saw the Crimson place second despite winning just one race (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
MADISON, Wis. —The third and final day of racing at the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association/Gill Coed Dinghy National Championship saw no action due to lack of wind Thursday on Lake Mendota, leaving the Harvard sailing team as national runner-up, just five points behind champion Boston College.
The Crimson entered Thursday with 132 points to the Eagles’ 127 after entering Wednesday’s racing in second place and cutting 13 points off the BC lead. Harvard’s chance to complete its comeback never came, and the Crimson remained in second place in the field of 18 top teams from across the nation. It is Harvard’s highest finish in the event since winning the 2003 national title and its first time on the podium since a third-place showing in 2006.
“We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t get to sail today,” said head coach Mike O’Connor. “We’re getting over that and are very happy our performance. We came out of the gate well and were able to control what was going on around us, which is important when you know the racing could be cut short due to the weather.”
Harvard used strong race starts and a consistent performance to place third in the A division and second in the B division in conditions featuring flat water and shifty wind. Only 10 of the 18 scheduled A-division races and nine B-division contests were held, as Wednesday’s racing was cut short after seven total races.
“One of the things that we all need to be very proud of is that in the last and most important regatta of the season, we sailed our best,” O’Connor added. “That proves we were focused and prepared and we laid it all on the line.”
The top five teams were tightly packed. Brown and St. Mary's were close behind Harvard with 142 points each, and Georgetown placed fifth with 143.
After earning four top-four finishes in six Tuesday races, the A-division pair of juniors Alan Palmer and Meghan Wareham opened Wednesday with a win to cut into the BC lead. Palmer and Winston Yan then finished strong with a third-place showing in the fourth race of the day, moving into third in the division standings. Georgetown won the division with 53 points, followed by Vermont with 65 and the Crimson with 74.
The B-division group of John Stokes, Michelle Konstadt and Quincy Bock finished in the top third of the field in five of Tuesday’s six races, including three top-three showings. They placed seventh, 11th and eighth in Wednesday’s three races to total 58 points, two more than third-place Brown. BC won the division with 39 points.