Racing on Lake St. Clair for three days, the sailors from Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.) claimed their second ICSA North American Team Race Championship title in as many years. The Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association and the University of Michigan hosted the championship June 5-7 from the Crescent Sail Yacht Club (Detroit, Mich.). This year’s contest was a close one for Harvard -- they entered the final day of racing with a slight lead – after winning last year's event in Hawaii with an undefeated record. "The wind was so light the whole time that it was all about boathandling," said coach Mike O'Connor (Foxboro, Mass.). "In one-on-one situations, our guys had a slight edge." In the driver’s seat for Harvard were seniors Clay Bischoff (Miami, Fla.) and Dan Litchfield (Wayland, Mass.), junior Cardwell Potts (New Orleans, La.), and freshman Vincent Porter (Geneva, Wis.). Lema Kikuchi (Bethesda,Md.) and Michelle Yu (Mountain View, Calif.), both seniors, sophomore David Darst (Greenwich, Ct.) and freshman Ruth Schlitz (Falmouth, Mass.), pulled crew duty for the Crimson. Bischoff, Potts and Yu are returning All-Americans.

For this year’s championship the number of teams was increased to 14 (from 12 last year) in direct response to the growth in the team racing discipline of the sport. Racing was conducted in new Vanguard 420s provided by Vanguard Sailboats (Portsmouth, R.I.), a partner in the ICSA Growth and Development Project.

In the team racing championship, each school’s three-boat team competes in a round-robin series of matches with the best combined score determining the winner. This year schools were seeded into two groups of seven teams, another new feature. On day one, each group completed a round-robin series with the top-four placing teams in each group progressing to a championship round robin. The remaining six teams would sail a consolation round. From the championship round of eight, the top four teams sail a double final four round robin to declare the champion.

Day One – The morning’s drizzle and light, shifty breeze cleared to a steadier wind as the day went on allowing a total of 42 races -- plus three sail-off races – to be completed. In Group 1, an undefeated Harvard University (6-0) was followed closely by St. Mary's (5-1). A three-way tie for third between the College of Charleston, Hobart/William Smith Colleges, and the University of Hawaii forced a sail-off to determine the last two teams to advance to the championship round. Hobart went 2-0, while Hawaii went 1-1 to advance.
Tufts University (6-0) dominated the Group 2 competition, followed by Dartmouth College (5-1). The University of Southern California (4-2) and Georgetown University (3-3) rounded out the top four to move on.

Day Two – While clear, sunny skies made for great spectating from Crescent Sail Yacht Club, the patchy winds were trying for race committee and sailors alike. Due to postponements and delays, only 27 of 28 planned races were completed. At the day’s end, Harvard held a slim lead at 5-2 while Hobart/William Smith Colleges and the University of Southern California followed closely with 4-3.

St. Mary's College and Tufts University, each with 3-3, would have to wait one more day for the final race of the championship round robin. The winner of that match would join Harvard, Hobart and USC for the double final four round robin to declare the champion.

Day Three – The wind, spotty all day, ultimately prevented all of the scheduled races from being contested. St. Mary's beat Tufts in the final race of the "championship round" to advance to the final four. With the final round robin underway, St. Mary's appeared poised to score an upset and claim the title, with wins over the University of Southern California and Harvard. However, racing was abandoned as the breeze continued to drop and the 5:00 p.m. cutoff to start the final race was reached. Without the final round robin completed, scores reverted to the records from the championship round robin of eight. With a 5-2 win-loss record in the races that counted, Harvard won their second ICSA North American Team Racing Championship in school history. Some of the day’s races were used as a tiebreaker, with St. Mary's taking second, followed by USC and Hobart/William Smith Colleges. Texas A & M Galveston posted a 4-1 record to win the consolation round.

The fourteen teams qualified to compete in this championship through regional eliminations were: College of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.); Dartmouth College (Hanover, N.H.); Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.); Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.); Hobart/William Smith Colleges (Geneva, N.Y.); St. Mary's College (St. Mary's City, Md.); Tufts University (Medford, Mass.); Texas A & M Galveston (Galveston, Texas); University of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii); University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.); University of South Florida (St. Petersburg, Fla.); University of Southern California (Los Angeles, Calif.); University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.); University of Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.)

The 2003 ICSA North American Team Race Championship is the second of three ICSA spring championships. For daily reports, photos and complete results visit www.collegesailing.org/2003