Despite snow in New Haven, the Eli sailors found brighter skies in Maryland over the weekend at the Tom Noble Race. The Bulldogs traveled to Chestertown, Md., where they placed second in the team race hosted by Washington College. The out-of-district tournament drew eight teams to the Chester River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Temperatures in the 40s and a 5- to 10- knot wind made sailing a breeze for the Eli sailors, who are used to the blustery and more exposed waters of Long Island Sound.

“I think the conditions were absolutely beautiful,” Sarah Lihan ’10 said. “We were going into this weekend thinking it would be nasty, but it was beyond what anyone could have hoped for with February sailing.”

It was the Bulldogs’ first ever race at Washington College, a Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association school. (Most New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association schools have not opened their facilities since closing for the winter.) As the spring season starts, competition begins in the south and moves north.

The pairs of Lihan and Elizabeth Brim ’11, Marla Menninger ’10 and Andrew Kurzrok ’11, and Joseph Morris ’12 and Heather May ’13 manned the Elis’ three boats.

“It went really well,” captain Morris said. “We had planned on it being a trainer regatta so we left without our starters.”

Saturday’s competition featured an eight-boat rotation that allowed each team to race all the other teams. One and a half rotations — 12 regattas — were completed over the course of the morning. Boston University took the lead with the Bulldogs trailing 7–2 by evening.

On Sunday, the second rotation that had started Saturday was finished, and around noon, race organizers split the field into two fleets: the gold and silver. Each team raced three more races to complete the day.

In the gold fleet, Yale joined BU, the US Naval Academy and Washington College. The Elis finished the weekend 13–4 overall.

“The schools that were there had sent their best people,” Lihan said of the competition.

This might have put the Elis at a disadvantage, but the depth on the team helped the Bulldogs sail to victory.

Next week marks the true beginning of the spring season as the Elis split their field between two regattas. Teams will race at the Thames River Team Race hosted by U.S.C.G. Academy in New London, Conn., and the Graham Hall Team Race at U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.