Stephen Rappaport

MDI Leads Welles Cup at Halfway Mark



Stephen Rappaport
The competition was fierce and the concentration intense as Mount Desert Island High School and George Stevens Academy battled for the Welles Cup.

CASTINE — Halfway through the 16th annual Welles Cup regatta, the George Stevens Academy Eagles hold a 4-1 lead over rival Mount Desert Island High School.

The two-leg regatta got under way last Wednesday, May 25 with the Eagles hosting MDI at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. The second round of the Welles Cup was scheduled for June 1 with the Trojans slated to host GSA at the Community Sailing Center in Southwest Harbor.

Last week, despite early indications that the regatta would be a drifter, conditions in Smith Cove proved to be perfect for the high school sailors and their coaches. As if the race committee had its hand on the wind switch, a steady 8-10-knot southwesterly breeze kicked in at 4 p.m., displacing a flat calm just as the teams piled into launches at the MMA waterfront to head for the dinghy float to rig up their 420s. Under the first blue sky seen in days, bright sunshine warmed the air.

With MDI coach Griff Fenton and GSA assistant sailing coach Patrick Haugen handling crew swaps on the float, the race committee was able to run 10 races, five each for the six-boat A and B division fleets. The divisions alternated races sailed over an N-shaped course. More often than not, the race committee was able to start one race while another was still under way.

This year’s Trojan sailing team should dispel any doubts that youngsters remain interested in the sport. Coach Fenton had some three-dozen students — many of them first-time sailors —turn out for the sailing team in March and he brought more than 20 sailors to the regatta. GSA has a much smaller squad and, with injuries complicating things, only 11 Eagles were available to race.

In the team racing format used in the Welles Cup, each school puts three boats on the course in each division. The Eagles were one sailor short of the dozen they needed, but got by with a little bit of help from their friendly rivals to fill out their B-division crews.

 

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

 

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]