Second-place winner Nicholas Kennedy looks ahead during the Longboard Regatta on Aug. 12 in Southwest Harbor. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY SARAH HINCKLEY

Donahue wins first Longboard Regatta

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Before nearly a dozen sailing students headed out on the water to race in the MDI Longboard Regatta on Aug. 12, Stephen Linscott demonstrated how to ride the long skateboard they were competing to win.

“The response I got was, ‘cool,’” said Linscott, creator of MDI Longboards and sponsor of the race for students of the MDI Community Sailing Center. “I sail, I race, and I think it’s a great program. I’ve seen a lot of kids come out of here and go off to college. I’d like to continue doing this.”

The MDI Longboard Regatta was made up of six sailing races in the Great Harbor a short distance from the center’s headquarters. On the line for the sailors, ranging in age from 11 to 14, was the 46-inch-long skateboard, also called a longboard, made by Linscott out of teak. He described the donated board as “very yachty looking.”

Alex Donahue was the winner of the longboard after placing first in several of the six races that made up the regatta. Nicholas Kennedy took second, winning a smaller trophy board, and Cam Graham placed third. One racer was awarded a wooden bowtie made from the scraps of the first-place longboard.

Each participant had their own RS Terra to maneuver through the course. The single-handed sailing boats were purchased last spring so that programming at the center could continue safely during the pandemic. Typically, students of the center learn on boats with two crew members.

“This is our second season with them,” said sailing center founder Glenn Squires, of the boats with the bright orange sails.

Several older students, who are now instructors, were out on the water watching and assisting with the race. There were six races to make up the regatta, with the option to throw one out if it didn’t go so well.

An experienced boat builder who now crafts specialty furniture and is in the home construction industry, Linscott began building longboards about a year and a half ago. Using boat-building techniques in the way he layers and presses together the wood, Linscott puts at least six hours into each board. Since hitting the circuit, the longer version skateboards have made a real splash.

When the sailing program began at Mount Desert Island High School, Linscott was a student but didn’t take up the new sport. These days, he spends at least two days a week on the water in a sailboat, which is why he wanted to sponsor a race.

“I never participated but I always wish I had,” he said.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.
Sarah Hinckley

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