Former Maine Maritime Academy sailing coach Caroline Councell on her way to supervise the start of a race during the 2016 Downeast Regatta on Castine Harbor. FILE PHOTO

MMA looks for new sailing coach

CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy is looking for a new sailing coach. Judging by the job description posted on the academy’s website, the successful candidate may have to be Wonder Woman or Superman.

The new coach will replace Caroline Councell, who took over the Mariners sailing team in November 2015. Before taking the helm full time, Councell coached the MMA dinghy team from August 2009 through the end of the 2011 season as a student assistant to former MMA sailing coach Tom Brown.

Last month, Councell and her family moved to British Columbia in Canada.

Under Councell’s guidance, an inexperienced MMA offshore sailing team showed significant progress while racing at two Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup regattas in California, in the McMillan Cup event at the U.S. Naval Academy and at the Storm Trysail Foundation’s Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta.

In October, MMA won the Storm Trysail regatta’s J/44 class outright, beating sailing teams from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Academy.

MMA began the hunt for Councell’s successor last month. In addition to coaching varsity sailing, the post calls for working as the academy’s coordinator of sailing programs.

“The position is advertised in some trade publications and websites, in addition to the MMA sites,” Dana Willis, the academy’s marine operations manager, said last week. Among the online resources the academy is using are the American Sail Training Association’s Billet Bank and the Sail 1 Design website.

MMA is looking for someone to do more than just coach varsity sailing. The position advertised on the Billet Bank posting is for a coordinator of sailing programs who, besides coaching, will be responsible for “coordinating (and) planning” for the sailing team as well as its “fiscal program administration.”

A fuller job description on the academy’s website includes responsibility for the school’s recreational and intramural sailing programs and sailing clinics. The coordinator also is supposed to assist “in operating and maintenance” of MMA’s waterfront “as an exemplary marina/boatyard facility.”

While the search for a new coach is in its early days, the academy’s offshore sailing team is already looking forward to another March trip to California to race in the 11th annual Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup Regatta. MMA won the inaugural event, an invitational regatta for top collegiate sailing teams, in 2008 and repeated as winner in 2009. What’s not yet clear is who will accompany the team to the West Coast if no coach has been hired before the regatta begins March 8.

“If necessary, appropriate MMA personnel will accompany the team to LA,” Willis, the school’s marine operations manager, said last week.

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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