George Stevens Academy skipper Gabe Hall and crew Clementine Bannon have their boat sailing fast at last weekend’s team and fleet race regatta sailed in Marblehead Harbor. PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN MITCHELL

GSA, MDIHS open sailing season; MMA sailors qualify for championships

BLUE HILL — It may be hard to fathom but sailing season is here, at least for a hardy group of racers from George Stevens Academy, Mount Desert Island High School and Maine Maritime Academy.

Last weekend, both the Eagles and Trojans journeyed to Marblehead, Mass., for two days of racing hosted by the local Marblehead High School Fishwagons.

Considering that Marblehead won last year’s Massachusetts state high school sailing championship, both Maine teams came away with something to be pleased about.

On Saturday, the young sailors squared off for a day of team racing — a series of head-to-head match races between three-boat teams from each school.

The southerly wind was “light and spotty,” GSA coach Andy Stephenson said Monday, not the best conditions for a relatively inexperienced team in an event that calls for a lot of strategy.

“It was our first time on the water, first time racing,” Stephenson said. “We lost to MDI, lost to Marblehead, then we got done.”

Sunday’s fleet racing saw somewhat better wind conditions and produced better results for GSA. After six races, with each of the three teams sailing boats in two divisions, the Eagles finished second overall, six points behind the victorious Fishwagons and three points ahead of the Trojans.

MDIHS coach John Macauley had compliments for his team.

“The kids, as always, comported themselves well,” Macauley said. “The A rotation did very well, tying on points, but winning over Marblehead using the number of first-place finishes as a tiebreaker.”

The Trojan A boat had three bullets on Sunday, the Fishwagons just two.

While the high-schoolers were sailing in Marblehead, the Maine Maritime Academy sailing team traveled to Buzzards Bay, Mass., to sail against eight other teams at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in a qualifying regatta for the New England Dinghy Championships scheduled for next month.

Sailing in variable winds that canceled all but two races Saturday, the Mariners finished second overall. Best of all, sailors Mott Blair, Owen White, Luke Healy and Gus Campbell qualified MMA for the New England Dingy Championships for the first time since 2012.

“We are very proud of our all-freshmen team for qualifying for New England Champs this weekend,” MMA sailing coach Taylor Martin said Monday. “We are excited for the opportunity to sail at the qualifier for coed Dinghy Nationals at the end of April.”

The national championship regatta will be held in May and include nine New England collegiate sailing teams as well as teams from other regions around the nation.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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