The sailing team welcomed the start of the fall season this past weekend, finding both success and room for improvement at regattas across New England.

The weekend's results came on the heels of an exciting new addition to the team. Bethel Point, where the team practices, recently became home to a fleet of 18 brand-new Flying Juniors (FJs), as well as six 420s from the nearby Harraseeket Yacht Club. Over the summer, the team said goodbye to the previous fleet of Lark dinghies and prepared to take the delivery of the new boats. These dinghies, approximately 13 feet in length and fit for two sailors, are the most common boats sailed at collegiate regattas.

"Practicing in the FJs and 420s is huge for our team," said Head Coach Frank Pizzo. "We are now able to best prepare for the events we are sailing on the weekends."

The new boats are already proving to be great assets as 17 Polar Bears, spread across four regattas, showed confidence on the water over the weekend.

In Castine, the Maine Maritime Academy played host to the Penobscot Bay Open, a co-ed conference event sailed on the Bagaduce River. A-division skipper Jeff Goodrich '12 and crew Ben Berg '12 got off to a rocky start, but soon found their rhythm. Billy Rohman '11 and Mae Speight '13 sailed in the B-division, contributing to the team's ninth-place finish out of 17.

Goodrich, a veteran skipper, said, "It was nice to finally get to an event after a long preseason and put our hard work to use. Disqualification in two races hurt us, but even with that we still posted a solid result."

The women's team traveled south to Boston for MIT's Toni Deutsch Regatta, an intersectional, or top-level event, named for the first woman at MIT to receive a varsity letter. The women finished ninth of 14 teams in a 5-10 knot oscillating breeze commonly found on the Charles River.

In A-division, captain Coco Sprague '11 and Sarah Fiske '13 took turns at the tiller, with Isabel Low '13 as crew. Emily McNeil '14 skippered B-division with veteran crew Leah Hughes '11.

"It was quite an adventure," said McNeil of her first college event. "Sailing on the Charles was nothing like anywhere I've sailed before, but as the weekend progressed I felt as though I began to understand the river. I'm looking forward to using this as a starting point for the next four years."

Additional members of the co-ed team attained two mid-fleet finishes at central and southern series regattas.

The team of captain DJ Hatch '11, Clare Henry '12, Pete Edmunds '14 and Kim Dempsey '14 competed at the Mount Hope Bay Invitational at Roger Williams University. The event, which saw a strong current and 5-15 knots of breeze, resulted in a sixth-place finish out of 15 for the Polar Bears.

Finally, the Polar Bears finished fifth of nine teams at the Central Series at Tufts University. Sophomores Jimmy Rohman and Molly Clements sailed in A-division, while Wes Fleuchaus '11 and Ruthie Bodell '13 competed in B.

Pizzo was pleased with the results.

"We had a solid first weekend," he said.

The team will travel to events at the University of Vermont, Middlebury and Boston College this weekend.