After stunning No. 1 Harvard last weekend in team racing at Tufts, the sailing teams ran into major difficulties this weekend with fleet racing, finishing in the bottom half in all but one regatta.

Stu McNay ’04 did not mince words.

“The weekend went quite poorly for all of our teams,” McNay said. “Although the teams at the Moody Trophy [held April 12 to 13 at the University of Rhode Island] did decently, all of us were plagued by common problems.”

In fleet racing, each school sends an A and B boat, whose scores are combined for the final result. One point is awarded for first, two for second, three for third and so on, with the lowest combined score winning. In team racing, schools send three boats each, which compete in single or double round-robin races.

Poor starts troubled the Bulldogs all weekend.

“The start is one of the most important parts of the race,” McNay said. “The start establishes the pecking order around the marks, and making a pass is difficult. The light conditions this weekend made accelerating the boat from a standstill, as you do when you start the race, very difficult.”

McNay also said the team’s head coach, Zack Leonard ’89, was unavailable this weekend.

“Zack [Leonard] was away at a recruiting conference in California,” McNay said. “He’s looking to grab some good sailors for the upcoming year, so although [Leonard’s absence] may have hurt our performance this weekend, in the long run, it will be great for the team.”

The 32nd Admiral’s Cup at King’s Point, this weekend’s coed varsity event, was in Great Neck, N.Y. The nationally ranked No. 10 Bulldogs finished 16th in the race.

McNay and crews Kate Littlefield ’04 and George Malcolmson ’03 sailed in the A division, finishing 11 of 20. Brandon Wall ’03 and Meredith Killion ’05 did little better in the B division, finishing 10th, and Mike Renda ’04 finished 17th in the C division, sailing Lasers.

The Admiral’s Cup boasted pouring rain and 12 to 15 knot winds Saturday. But Sunday, the Bulldogs witnessed some of the year’s best weather. The United States Merchant Marine Academy hosted the event, where each college fielded a team in A, B, and C divisions. The C Division sailed entirely in the fast, one-person Lasers; the A and B divisions switched fleets after the first 10 races.

While the coed team was facing difficulties in Long Island, the No. 10 women’s team traveled to Brown for the 17th Women’s Brad Dellenbaugh Trophy, where it finished 13 of 18.

Molly Carapiet ’06 and Marisa Benoit ’05 finished 14th in the A division, starting poorly but finishing in the top three in two of the last three races Sunday.

“We didn’t do as well as we could have,” Carapiet said. “But we learned a lot about sailing in Brown’s boats and at Brown, which will hopefully help us this coming weekend in New England’s, which are at Brown.”

Marie Bewley ’04 and Jackie Wong ’04 finished 15th in B, placing in the top 10 in only three of 12 races, with fifth their highest finish.

The weather at Brown was similar to Long Island’s Saturday, with rain and 12 to 15 knot winds. On Sunday, the weather improved, but the wind was noticeably on-and-off, starting at 8-13 knots but nearly disappearing at times through the afternoon. All schools sailed in 420s. No. 1 St. Mary’s made clear why it is the best women’s sailing team in the country, dominating both divisions and finishing in the top three in 16 of 24 races to beat No. 13 Brown by 59 points.

Yale sailors also traveled to the Moody Trophy at Rhode Island and the 55th BU Trophy at Boston University this weekend.

The Bulldogs had their best finish of the weekend at the Moody, where they were eight of 17 boats. Eivind Karlsen ’06 and crew Courtney Cox ’06 finished eighth in the B division; Arthur Kinsolving ’03 and crews Bun Bewley ’05 and Jenn Hoyle ’05 finished ninth in the A division. But the finish will not count toward national rankings or national championships because it is not an intersectional regatta.

At Boston University, the Bulldogs finished 17 of 18.

Over the next three weekends, Yale will travel to the New England women’s, team racing, and coed dinghy championships.

“These three upcoming weekends are going to be the most important regattas this spring,” McNay said. “If we perform well there, we can qualify for those national championships.”