CASTINE — Last year, Maine Maritime Academy finished squarely in the middle of its big-boat fleet at the Storm Trysail Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta on Long Island Sound.
Last weekend, sailing the J/44 sloop Gold Digger, the Mariners kicked it up a notch and won their class. After five races, MMA edged the Coast Guard Academy by just two points, with a bullet in the second race the decisive factor.
On board Gold Digger, according to the MMA crew list, were skipper Graham Roeber; Geoffrey Knight at the mast; Renaissance Lyman on bow; Isaac Parker, headsail trimmer; Bradford Tibbetts, mainsail trimmer; Philip McGee; and James Trentham.
In the eight-boat J/105 class, the Mariners finished fourth aboard LauraBea with Thomas Dugan at the helm.
The IOR drew more than three dozen teams from colleges throughout the United States and Canada to race a total of 41 “big boats” divided among six separate classes. One team came all the way from France to race in the J/109 class.
On the weekend of Oct. 21, MMA is scheduled to travel to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis to race Navy 44 sloops in the MacMillan Cup Regatta.
While the college sailors are pursuing an active racing calendar away from home, if all goes as planned, high school sailors will have at least one more chance to race in Castine Harbor this fall.
Former George Stevens Academy sailing Coach Tom Gutow has put out the call to organize the seventh annual Becton Cup regatta, slated for the weekend of Nov. 4. At this juncture, it is still too early to tell how many high schools or community sailing programs will send crews to the regatta that determines the girls’ Maine State Doublehanded sailing championship.
Last year, sailing in near windless conditions, only two schools and two community sailing programs sent teams to the Becton, though two schools, including Marblehead High School, withdrew at the last minute.
In 2015, 11 teams, representing eight high schools and community sailing programs, raced. At the inaugural event, 18 sailors raced in a nine-boat fleet.
The regatta was established in 2011 and named in honor of Jean Coggan Becton of Blue Hill. Winner of the Maine Women’s Sailing Championship in 1936 and again a decade later, she was a longtime supporter of junior sailing.
Sailed in the early fall, the Becton Cup has drawn girls’ sailing teams from high schools around the state and Massachusetts to race 420 dinghies and compete for the Maine Maritime Academy Women’s Downeast Doublehanded trophy and the Maine State Doublehanded Championship.