Any win feels good, but beating Harvard is especially nice.

The No. 13 coed sailing team won a sail-off with the No. 1 Cantabs this weekend at the Southern New England Team Race in New London, making a strong statement as the spring season gets going. At Harvard, the No. 2 women’s team finished third of 11 at Saturday’s Emily Wick Trophy and sixth of ten at Sunday’s Sloop Shrew.

The strong finishes for the team provided a boost after lower-than-expected finishes at the Truxtun Umsted Regatta at Navy last weekend. Phil Stemler ’07, who was one of Yale’s three skippers at this weekend’s team race, said the squad had learned from its mistakes at Navy.

“Part of our problem at the Trux was discipline,” Stemler said. “One thing about sailing at Yale is that it’s a place that really develops your boat speed, but if you’re too focused on making the boat go fast, you might make bonehead moves that would cost you places. This weekend, we didn’t do that. We pulled together as a team.”

Stemler is a Staff Reporter for the News.

The team race format is substantially different from fleet racing, which is far more common in collegiate competition. In fleet racing, each school sends both 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. The team with the best record wins.

Yale finished this weekend’s team race with an 11-5 record, good enough for a tie with Harvard for first but not quite enough for an outright win.

But the Elis pulled together for the tie-breaking sail-off, dominating the Crimson with perhaps the best sailing of the whole regatta.

Skippers Molly Carapiet ’06 and Zach Brown ’08 and crews Sarah Himmelfarb ’06, Hannah Oakland ’07 and Abby Coplin ’08 filled out the Bulldog squad at the team race. Himmelfarb, Carapiet and Brown, half of Yale’s contingent, are All-Americans.

The No. 2 women’s team also showed improvement this weekend, despite the absence of Carapiet and women’s captain Emily Hill ’07, the team’s top two skippers. Kendra Emhiser ’07 and crew Eliza Becton ’06, who normally sail in the B division at most women’s events, were bumped up to the A division this weekend, giving rookie skipper Kate Hagemann ’09 and crew Grace Becton ’09 a chance to test themselves against tougher-than-usual competition.

The Emily Wick Trophy on Saturday featured an unusual format, with the A and B divisions sailing together. Yale’s A and B boats finished fourth and sixth out of 22, respectively, combining for third overall out of the 11 teams.

Emhiser said she was pleased by the results.

“On Saturday, overall, we were really pleased because we sent a different team than we normally do,” she said. “We finished third overall, so we were really proud of that and the teams that beat us as well as some of the teams we beat definitely had their top boats there.”

The results of Sunday’s Sloop Shrew Trophy, by contrast, were not as uplifting. The Elis struggled as the 12-knot wind that had powered Saturday’s racing faltered and then died completely, forcing the organizers to cut the regatta short after only four races. In such a short regatta, consistency is paramount, and poor results in the final frame of each division doomed the Elis to sixth overall after a promising start.

“We just didn’t have enough races to allow any really bad results,” Emhiser said. “That’s why Sunday didn’t turn out as well as we might have hoped.”

Emhiser and Eliza Becton finished third of 10 in the A division at the Sloop Shrew, while Hagemann and Grace Becton sailed into sixth in the B division.