Hall of Fame

V. Ann Skartvedt

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

Skatvedt was a five-year letterwinner in sailing and named the “Star Sailor” for the 1984 team. Coach Michael Horn stated that “Ann’s crewing record in 82-83 has never been equaled by any college sailor.” Highlights included her winning the New England Dinghy Championship A-Division, the Urn Intersectional A-Division, the Stu Nelson Intersectional A-Division, the Emily Wick Trophy A-Division and the President’s Cup A-Division (both fall and spring).

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

It is a great honor to be named to join the Harvard Varsity Club’s Hall of Fame, but I think rather improbable and surprising one. How did I, a kid from Colorado, end up anywhere near collegiate sailing? Let alone being inducted into a Hall of Fame? I remember my first sailing practice in the fall of my freshman year. I knew I was out of my league, but I thought if I just kept my mouth shut no one would discover that I could not possibly belong there. I had been in sailboats before – beginning with little wooden dinghies at summer camp – and I had raced with the sailing team at a Connecticut prep school, but I certainly did not feel prepared to join what seemed to be a group of very exceptional sailors. These were people who had grown up racing all shapes and sizes of boats, who did not show up to practice in sweats and converse sneakers. I thought seriously about trying to play soccer instead. But I figured at Harvard, the soccer team would be just as intimidating. So I stayed – and everyone was even nice when I fell out of the boat that first day. As intimidated as I felt, I badly wanted to be part of the team. Growing up in Colorado, I never even saw boats, but there must be something in my Norwegian blood, because from very early on, I was fascinated and entranced by sailboats. And from very early on, the Harvard Sailing Tea, was a fascinating and enchanting place to be. That first day was not the last time I went swimming in the Charles, but before too long, thanks to an incredibly friendly group of people, and to the fact that lightweight crews were always in demand, eventually I did actually belong. The sailing team was not quite like other Harvard varsity sports. We took the subway to practice down by MIT. We didn’t have trainers or the wide variety of Harvard emblem apparel that my field hockey roommate sported. We drove to regattas in our own cars, bought our own meals, and begged floor space from assorted friends, alumni, and sometimes strangers when we traveled to away regattas. Perhaps is was the sense of being not0quite-ready-for-prime-time sport that gave the team the spirit it had. Whatever it was, the team was diverse, interesting, talented, and definitely fun group of people. I owe my success in particular to the individuals I sailed with. In a two-person boat, the crew is only as good as the skipper. I was incredibly lucky to sail with great skippers. Brian Keane ’83, who suffered through my first seasons, often having to pull me out of the water, who taught me the strategy behind the rules, and who demanded expert boat handling. Rony Sebok ’83, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year, and who is undoubtedly the smartest and strongest woman I have ever known. We had so much fun sailing together because we went SO fast! And Jamie Jenkins ’85 who I was privileged to crew for in my last year – who took everyone by surprise because beneath her quite, smiling exterior was hidden a fierce competitor. Mostly though, I owe many thanks to our coach, Mike Horn. Of everyone I met at Harvard, I considered Mike my mentor. He represents, I think, the best that Harvard has to offer its students, someone who always had our best interests at the top of his priority list. He supported our lives as students and as people, but he certainly did not neglect our sailing responsibilities. Mike was not a coach to yell and rant and rave. But over time, we all got to know the more subtle signs of his intensity. He was always the most upset with us not when we weren’t fast, but when we weren’t smart. I have strong memories of our chalk talks – everyone arguing and debating the finer points of rules and strategy. Mike did everything for the team – ran practices, repaired the boats, maintained the sailing center, fundraised, organized a schedule of regattas all over the region every weekend fall and spring, drove us to regattas, and put us all up at his own house many times. All that and taught us how to win races too, which we did, often. Still today, too many years later, Harvard sailing stays with me. There are certain days – blue sky with breeze – when I fell a visceral wish to be in a boat racing. When I walk through crowds, I maneuver according to rules of right of way. I cannot eat a tuna fish sandwich with out thinking of Radcliffe regattas. I read the New York Times Sunday sports section and often recognize the one-design sailors who are sometimes profiled there. And I think – I know those people, and then I remind myself – I was one of those people. As improbable as it seemed then and as surprising as it seems now. Many thanks to Mike and to my fellow sailors and thanks to the Varsity Club for this honor that means so much to a land locked kid from Colorado.