MMA disappointed at McMillan Cup Regatta

CASTINE — On the waters of Chesapeake Bay, the Maine Maritime Academy sailing team finished tied for third last weekend at the McMillan Cup Regatta.

On the official scorecard, though, the Mariners placed a disappointing sixth in the 10-boat fleet — not quite good enough for to qualify for the upcoming Kennedy Cup — the Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s big boat championship regatta, scheduled for Nov. 5 and 6 at the U.S. Naval Academy.

As it was here in much of Maine, the weather in Annapolis was wild on Saturday. Although the 10 college teams were sailing rugged Navy 44 sloops, Principal Race Officer Taran Teague decided the conditions were too hazardous to allow racing.

It was a good decision. According to Navy offshore sailing coach Jahn Tihansky, the teams were allowed out on the course for practice and reported northwest winds gusting higher than 30 knots.

Conditions on Sunday were decidedly better.

After Saturday’s buster, the young sailors found more benign racing conditions, with westerly winds between 15 and 18 knots.

The first race got under way as scheduled, with Navy winning the start on the left side of the course and extending its lead throughout the race. The Mariners finished fifth.

Race No. 2 was MMA’s best of the day.

Navy muffed the start while the Mariners and the Coast Guard Academy teams jumped out front. MMA led at the leeward gate, holding off Coast Guard and the fast-sailing Middies. At the weather mark, Navy squeezed past both to grab the lead and held on for its second bullet. Coast Guard took second while Maine Maritime finished third and stood fourth overall.

In the third and final race, Navy led at the first mark by a comfortable margin which it held the rest of the way around. Massachusetts Maritime Academy sailed well enough to fend off the hard-charging fleet and take second, just ahead of a photo finish for the third through seventh place boats.

Unfortunately for MMA, it finished out of the picture. Its ninth-place finish left it with 17 points, tied with Kings Point and Massachusetts Maritime for fourth but allotted sixth place because of its poor finish position in the last race.

The Mariners sailed with a young crew. Of the eight sailors who traveled to Annapolis only one was a senior.

With three bullets, Navy came away with the overall win, six points ahead of second place Coast Guard.

With their strong finishes, Coast Guard third place finisher New York Maritime Academy will represent their respective conferences at the Kennedy Cup.

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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