Last Saturday, torrential rains dominated most of the H-Y-P crew day. Despite the weather, the lightweight crew team braved the storm to compete in the annual Goldthwait Cup in Derby. The Bulldogs finished second in the varsity race (6:19.0) behind Harvard (6:15.5) and ahead of Princeton (6:20.4).
While Harvard took home the Goldthwait Cup, Yale won the inaugural Vogel Cup with the most overall points in all the races combined. At the end of the day, the scoreboard showed Yale with 32 points, Harvard with 29, and Princeton rounding out the bottom with 23 points.
Head coach Andy Card said both Harvard and Princeton present good crews each year, making the already intense rivalry even more intense.
“Princeton and Harvard always present the greatest threat,” Card said. “This year, Harvard looks like the class of the field, and they earned that distinction with a good race on Saturday.”
While the first varsity crew fell short of victory, both freshman teams and the third varsity boat won. Their combined wins, as well as the second place finishes from the second varsity and first varsity teams, propelled Yale to win the first-ever Vogel Cup.
This year’s H-Y-P regatta featured the first Vogel Cup, named for Dave Vogel ’71 — a longtime Yale lightweight and heavyweight oarsman and coach.
Card said the last 500 meters of the second varsity and first varsity races were crucial.
“Both the second varsity and the first varsity raced well in the last 500 meters,” Card said. “The varsity coming in second was the key for Yale winning the Vogel Cup.”
The bad conditions, as well as the Bulldogs’ lack of actual racing experience, contributed to the first varsity boat’s loss to Harvard. Torrential rain and strong cross-head wind plagued the Bulldogs most of the day. Card said the conditions made it difficult to gauge how well the Bulldogs did in the races.
Captain Ben Hamilton ’03 also said the weather was a deciding factor in the first varsity race.
“The bad conditions turned the race into a little bit of a ‘slug fest’ where the crew that had more strength, rather than rhythm, had the advantage,” Hamilton said.
Besides adding a trophy to their name, the Bulldogs also gained valuable experience from Saturday’s races. With Eastern Sprints and the IRA — the two major crew championships — fast approaching, Yale benefited from the rough conditions and tough competition.
“This race gave us some more experience that we can use toward preparing for the championship,” Eric Feins ’03 said. “That’s the way you have to look at every regular season race, regardless of the result.”
The Bulldogs now enter the crucial part of their season; they prepare for the championship races.
“For any particular year, it’s the regular season races that develop you,” Card said. “But it’s the championship races that define you.”
While lightweight crew hosted Harvard and Princeton on their own turf, the heavyweight crew team traveled to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on Cornell and Princeton in the Carnegie Cup Saturday. Yale finished third in each race behind Cornell and Princeton.
The Big Red won the varsity race in 5:50.7, with Princeton following close behind at 5:52.0. Yale finished last in 5:55.8.
Unlike the harsh conditions that the lightweights saw in their races, the heavyweights raced in calm waters and only had to face a light sprinkle of rain. Unfortunately, the good conditions were not enough for Yale to overcome its fierce competition.
Both Cornell and Princeton are nationally ranked in the top 10 crews in the country, with the No. 6 and No. 7 slots respectively.
The Bulldogs next take on Oregon State, Rutgers and Brown on Carnegie Lake in Princeton, N.J., May 3 before they head to the EARC sprints May 11.