PORTLAND — The Mount Desert Island High School sailing team got the weekend off to a terrific start on Saturday, with its A-division boat winning the first race of the day at the Saturday qualifier for the annual New England Schools Sailing Association’s Fleet Racing Championship, the O’Day Trophy regatta, but it was all downhill from there.
After a dozen races, six in each of two divisions, the Trojans finished 13th overall in a fleet of 17 that included teams from both public and private secondary schools from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Milton Academy won on Saturday and moved on to race Sunday at the O’Day finals in Marion, Mass. With skipper Alec Fisichella driving and Nate Ingebritson as crew, the Trojans handed the Mustangs their only loss in the A-division fleet.
Milton edged Falmouth High School by just three points on Saturday. The Yachtsmen got their revenge in the Sunday finals won by the host Tabor Academy, finishing fifth overall, four places and 30 points ahead of Milton.
MDI sailing Coach John Macauley took five sailors to the O’Day qualifier, held at SailMaine on Saturday. Fisichella and Ingebritson in the A-division boat and skipper Nate Philbrook in the B-division, with Jacob Peabody and Sofie Dowling sharing the crew duties.
“MDI struggled against the more experienced teams,” Macauley said in an email Monday. “Overall, I was delighted with their performance on the water and their sportsmanship in general.”
The regatta got underway on time at 10 a.m., with shifty northwest winds blowing right off Portland’s Eastern Promenade.
“The weather was spectacular if a bit chilly with winds in the 10 to 15 knot range,” Macauley said.
While the Eastern Prom bluff formed a lee that kept the water flat, wind shifts of 20 to 30 degrees conjured up challenging conditions for the young sailors.
After one general recall in the first race for the A division, the starts went smoothly. The race committee ran six races for each division over a variety of windward-leeward courses that offered some fairly long legs.
In the end, the wind went light for the last couple of legs of the B division’s sixth and the committee determined that the course would need to move to more open water, but it was too late in the day for another set — a race for each division — so the committee called it a day.
On Sunday, MDI travelled to Boothbay Harbor for the first Pen Bay League series, sailing against teams from Boothbay Region High School, Islesboro Central School, Rockland Community Sailing and Southern Maine Community Sailing.
The Trojans finished fourth overall, with the Islesboro team mentored by former Harvard College and Maine Maritime Academy sailing Coach Mike Horn at the top of the fleet.
“The weather was terrific, but the winds were typical of the region,” Macauley said, starting the day in the north and clocking around to the south in the afternoon. Wind speed ranged from 10 to 15 knots with gusts up to 18 or so.
“Needless to say, the wind was fluky,” Macauley said.
Fisichella and Ingebritson started in division A, with Dowling and Philbrook the B boat. Naomi Welch, Jacob Peabody, Colby Guerra and Sarah Knox rotated in as crew over the course of the day.
“With a young team, we spent much of the day as a training exercise for the new sailors,” Macauley said.
“Kudos to [former MMA sailing coach] Charles Barclay for running a smooth event and to the Boothbay Yacht Club parents for generously providing much needed carbs for my crew.”
Next Saturday, the Trojans are scheduled to sail in Rockland at the annual Breakwater Blast regatta.