With the return of captain Stu McNay ’04, the sailing team is close to regaining the form it displayed last season, when it was one of the best teams in New England.

The Bulldogs produced a strong performance over the weekend, finishing fifth out of a 24-team field at the Captain Hurst Bowl at Dartmouth.

Bolstered by the presence of McNay, who had been competing at the World Championships in Sardinia, Italy, the Elis tied St. Mary’s College with 237 points, 18 points behind third-place Harvard.

“It was great to have Stu back,” B division crew member Meredith Killion ’05 said. “It felt like everything was back in place and we all knew what was going on a lot better.”

Unfortunately for Yale, St. Mary’s took fourth place on the basis of having a better record against the Bulldogs in head-to-head competition over the two day event.

In a very strong field that featured an unusually large number of teams, host Dartmouth left the competition in their wake as they sailed to victory in the both the A division and B division. The Big Green finished with 158 points, 43 ahead of runner-up Tufts.

B division skipper Brandon Wall said he was happy with the Elis’ performance.

“It was satisfying because we had a strong showing in both the A and B divisions,” Wall said.

Racing in winds between eight and 15 knots over the two days, the sailors competed in 14 races in each division. Each division sailed two-race sets. Due to a late start which resulted from a lack of wind, four A division sets and only three B division sets were sailed on Saturday. B division sailors sailed four sets Sunday, while A raced three.

“The racing conditions were pretty difficult,” Killion said. “The wind was pretty puffy, changing direction and velocity a lot.”

McNay and crew member Kate Littlefield ’04 steered the Bulldogs to a sixth-place spot in the A division, five points ahead of the Crimson. In the 14 races, the Yale sailors recorded five top-five finishes.

In the B division races, the Elis took eighth with 121 points. Dartmouth won with a total of 73 points, 15 ahead of the squad from Boston College.

Wall and Killion placed in the top five six times, including a set in which they finished first and second.

While the coed team had its hands full with the unpredictable conditions in New Hampshire, the women’s team was busy racing in Boston.

Saturday, the Lady Elis took second place behind Connecticut College at the Man-Labs Trophy at MIT. Julie Papanek ’05 and Melissa Wisner ’05 contested the A division races and the freshman duo of Molly Carapiet ’06 and Sarah Himmelfarb ’06 raced in the B division.

This weekend, the Eli women will race in FJs at Dartmouth in the Mrs. Hurst Bowl. The coed team will travel to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. to compete for the Nevins Trophy.