The women’s sailing team cruised past the competition this weekend to win the New England Women’s Championships for the first time since 1979, and earned a berth to the National Championships in Hawaii May 29-31. Isabelle Kinsolving ’02, Meredith Killion ’05, Julie Papanek ’05 and Jennifer Hoyle ’05 were named First Team All-New England.

“It was the best weekend of sailing I’ve had in four years,” Kinsolving said.

The Elis sent five sailors to compete in the 18-team event hosted at the University of Rhode Island. With a score of 61 points, the Yale women finished 25 points ahead of second place Brown. Connecticut College finished in third with 94 points.

“We all felt if we performed as well as we knew we could, we would do well,” head coach Zach Leonard. “We were confident going in.”

Sailing Flying Juniors in swirling winds that reached 18 knots, each team entered a single, two-person boat in both the A Division and the B Division. Each boat sailed 10 races.

The pair of skipper Kinsolving and Killion finished a close second in the A Division with a score of 40 points, two points behind Brown’s boat. The Yale boat won three of their 10 races and took second in two.

“Isabelle and I had only sailed in three regattas together prior to this weekend,” Killion said. “It was a great accomplishment to do so well not being that familiar with each other.”

The Bulldogs’ B Division boat gave Yale the decisive edge they needed for the win, though. With an emphatic performance, skipper Papanek and crewmembers Hoyle and Blanka Solta ’02 won six out of 10 races and finished second and third in two others. Hoyle crewed the first six races while Solta crewed the last four.

“The way we were so consistent in such variable conditions, which were mentally exhausting, really showed up in the scores,” Papanek said.

The boats’ score of 21 placed them 23 points ahead of Connecticut College and 27 points in front of Brown, who had beaten the Elis in the A Division.

“Julie really had her best performance at the biggest race of the season,” Leonard said. “She’s done that all year. She seems to do best in the biggest events.”

While the women’s team competed at New England’s, the coed team raced in three other races. A trio of Bulldogs, sailing in a three-person J-22, recorded a strong second place finish at the Sloop Regatta in Boston, Mass. The boat of Derek Keil ’03, George Malcolmson ’03 and Nate Nussbaum ’02 finished with a score of 22 points, two behind the victorious Tufts’ boat.

Benoit Bewley ’05 and Katie Baker ’05 also sailed in Boston over the weekend, finishing 11th at the Priddy Trophy, which was won by host MIT.

This weekend, the Bulldogs will travel to the Team Racing Championships. The following weekend they will compete in the Co-ed Dingy Championships.