While many Yale students spent the weekends of their spring breaks in Cancun, Miami or Jamaica, the sailing teams were enjoying the less pleasant weather in New York, Rhode Island, Maryland and, of course, Connecticut.

It was a difficult spring break for the Bulldogs, who finished in the top five only once in the five regattas they sailed over the break.

But the team showed improvement, especially in team racing, finishing fourth at the Southern New England team race March 23 and March 24 in New London.

Kate Littlefield ’04, the coed team’s captain, said the fourth place finish, while disappointing, showed how much Yale’s team racing improved over break.

“The fact that we came in fourth at the [Southern New England] team race showed that our work over spring break paid off,” Littlefield said.

There certainly was improvement. When the team sailed in the 10th St. Mary’s Team Racing Intersectional in St. Mary’s City, Md., March 8 and March 9, Eli sailors went 4-8, finishing 8th out of 10 schools. At the Southern New England team race, Yale went 16-16, finishing fourth overall.

Littlefield said the loss at St. Mary’s showed the team where it needed to improve.

“The results of our first regatta at St. Mary’s were representative of the fact that we really hadn’t practiced,” Littlefield said. “We had moments of sailing brilliance, but we also had moments of idiocy. It did really show us what we had to work on over the break, however.”

Following the St. Mary’s regatta, the team traveled to the facilities of the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Fla., to train.

At first, the warm weather and crystal-clear water brought little improvement in the team’s performance. On March 15 and March 16, Yale placed 11th of 17 schools in the 14th Women’s Intersectional at St. Mary’s, also hosted by St. Mary’s College.

Things finally looked up after the second week of training in St. Petersburg. The Bulldogs traveled to Great Neck, N.Y., March 23 and March 24 for the 63rd Owens Trophy at King’s Point, where two freshman skippers, Molly Carapiet ’06 and Eivind Karlsen ’06, finished 8th in a field of 16 in the sometimes-difficult conditions at King’s Point.

Mike Renda ’03 also sailed for Yale March 23 and March 24, coming in 12th out of 18 in the 17th Atlantic Coast Monotype Invite, also held at King’s Point. Renda sailed in a fast, one-person boat called a laser, one of the boats Yale sailors rarely practice in.

But the true success story of the past weekend was at the Southern New England team race, where, Littlefield said, “our work paid of.”