Yale’s lightweight crew team is off to a quick start in the fall season after the 17th annual Head of the Housatonic regatta on Saturday.

The varsity team took first place in two out of eight races. In the Men’s Collegiate 8+, the Elis raced against the Yale heavyweights and a boat from Williams College. In the Masters/Open 8+ they were up against the New York Athletic Club, among other club teams.

The Bulldogs’ top boat posted the fastest time in both the Men’s Collegiate 8+ event as well as the Men’s Masters/Open 8+, with times of 14:34 and 14:22 respectively.

Two other Yale boats raced in the Men’s Collegiate 8+ race, placing fifth and seventh in 15:06 and 15:10. Another eight raced in the Men’s Masters/Open 8+, finishing third in 14:44, and three four-boats raced in the Men’s Collegiate 4+, finishing fourth, fifth and seventh in 17:00, 17:12 and 17:47 respectively.

The first race of the season took place on the Housatonic River in Shelton, Conn., which is Yale’s home course. The 2.7-mile course extends upstream from the Indian Well State Park to the New Haven Rowing Club boathouse in Oxford, Conn. Men’s lightweight crew coach Andy Card said Yale’s team rows there everyday, but usually not in the upstream direction as it did in this race.

Card said the race was head-style with the boats starting single-file, 10 to 15 seconds apart. They race “against the clock and each other,” he said.

“The first race [of the season] is always a bit of an unknown,” Card said. “These combinations haven’t rowed together very much as an eight.” Still, he added, the Head of the Housatonic is a great place to start.

Captain David Walker ’12 agreed, saying the race was a good opportunity to test the team early in the season.

“The entire team has been training hard this fall, and I am pleased with our performance in our first race,” Walker said. “We raced well and will continue to train hard to get faster throughout the fall.”

Skylar Prill ’12 added that this race was a great opportunity to practice making adjustments as a group, which will help to add speed.

Card said the goals for the season include integrating sophomores to the varsity level, incorporating freshmen and helping seniors acclimate to their new leadership positions.

The lightweight crew team’s next race is scheduled for October 23 and 24 at the Head of the Charles in Boston, which is the world’s largest regatta.