Capitalizing on its preseason ranking of third in the nation, the Yale coed sailing team began this year’s season with a third place finish at home in the Harry Anderson Trophy on Sunday.

Other sailing action this weekend yielded a fifth place finish at the Southern Series One Regatta and an eighth place finish at the Coast Guard’s Pine Sloop Intersectional.

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“It was a good start for the season, but we have a lot of work to do,” captain Zach Brown ’08 said. “We need to create consistency and smooth over our ups and down as well as practicing our strategy on starts.”

These results are just a preview of the season, Yale head coach Zach Leonard said, and he expects much improvement from the sailors over the course of the fall.

“We did a pretty good job overall. We were not completely prepared to do our best, but at the same time, we are just beginning our season. We had a shorter preseason than in years past,” Leonard said.

At the Harry Anderson Trophy, the Elis cruised by 21 teams in the regatta for the third place position, falling short of only Boston College and Roger Williams. Brown and Grace Becton ’09 led the team in the A division by accumulating 82 points over nine races to finish sixth. In the B division, Thomas Barrows ’10 and Abby Coplin ’08 secured a third place position with their total of 52 points.

The lack of wind power at the event made it particularly difficult for the competitors.

“There is not much wind here at Yale, which makes it difficult for everyone. It is much trickier and not an easy condition to deal with,” Leonard said.

In the Southern Series One Regatta at Roger Williams, the Bulldogs placed fifth overall in the racing events. The A division was led by Rufus Peabody ’08, Kate Williams ’08 and Liz Clark-Polner ’09, who finished fourth with 71 points. The B division team of Jason Rabinovitch ’08 and Lyn McGreggor ’08 obtained 77 points.

At the Pine Sloop Intersectional, Emmet Smith ’09, Mike Hession ’10, John Kempton ’10 and Andrew Kurzok ’11 earned a total of 74 points over 10 races for an eighth place finish.

Eighth place was not the optimal place from which to start the season, but the Eli team encountered several obstacles — including an attempt by an opposing team to damage the Yale boat — throughout the regatta that contributed to their disappointing result, Smith said.

“The wind was really strong and inconsistent all day. You will never get consistent wind at the Coast Guard because of the river and hills present there,” Smith said.

The Bulldogs were also hampered by their relative inexperience.

“We struggled in the beginning because we had not sailed on a Colgate 26 boat before, and all four of us had not sailed together as a team. However, we did show some improvement throughout the race, and I think it will lead to improvement for the season,” Smith said.

The sailing Elis will continue their campaign next weekend as they travel to the Hatch Brown Trophy at MIT and the Lake Champlain Open in Vermont.

“As long as people work hard and put in the effort needed, we can have a successful season,” Leonard said.