The Charles River can either be a sailor's best friend or his worst nightmare: Its shifting, fickle winds create tough conditions that are sometimes rewarding, but nearly always challenging.

Bowdoin sailing grappled with light and shifty weather on the Charles at MIT and Harvard this past weekend, ultimately finishing mid-fleet at both regattas.

The women's team sailed to a 12th place finish out of a fleet of 17 at the Victorian Coffee Urn Regatta.

Harvard University played host to this Atlantic Coast Championship (ACC) qualifying event. In the A-division, the team of Doria Cole '09 and Laura Heyl '10 finished in 11th, two points behind top-ranked Boston College.

In the B-division, Charlotte Williams '10 and Erin Taylor '09 put up a similar performance, finishing in 12th place.

Over the course of the two days, the women were able to surge ahead of nationally ranked teams, including Old Dominion, Coast Guard, and Dartmouth.

Additionally, the team's performance at the Urn enabled Bowdoin to rise to a No. 12 spot in the weekly New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association rankings.

Nearby, a group of co-ed Bowdoin sailors competed in FJs and Techs at the Erwin Schell Trophy at MIT.

The team of Viktor Bolmgren '11, Coco Sprague '11, Pete Wadden '09, Meredith Steck '09, and Alex Takata '12 struggled at the Schell, finishing a disappointing 17th out of 18 teams after the first day of competition.

"Saturday was a tough day for the co-ed team," said Head Coach Frank Pizzo. "The breeze was very light and spotty out of the north, which made sailing very difficult."

However, a strong performance on Sunday under more consistent breeze enabled the team to rise to a 14th place finish overall.

Bolmgren and Sprague finished 14th in the A-division, while Wadden, Takata, and Steck placed 15th in B.

"That 14th place spot is where we want to finish in overall rankings," said Pizzo.

Bowdoin sailing faces a busy schedule of competition this upcoming weekend.

The co-ed team will travel to Newport, R.I. for the Rhode Island State Championships at Salve Regina, while the women's team will compete in the Horn Trophy, a team race at Harvard.

The co-ed team will also travel to MIT to compete at a Saturday invitational as well as a Sunday Crew's Regatta.

Additionally, the Polar Bears will send an another squad to compete in 420s and Ynglings at the non-collegiate Leafer's Regatta, held at Sail Maine in Portland.