CASTINE — Teams from 17 New England public and private secondary schools gathered last weekend at Maine Maritime Academy for the 20th sailing of the Downeast Invitational-Maine State Championship regatta.
Mount Desert Island High School sent two teams to the line, a dozen sailors in all. The Trojans first team finished sixth overall. A second, less experienced MDI team finished 19th.
The event is sponsored by George Stevens Academy and hosted by MMA. This year drew teams from as far away as southern Massachusetts and northern Vermont.
Under the direction of Principal Race Officer Betty Minson, the fleet sailed 22 races — 11 in each of two divisions — in conditions that were just about perfect.
At the end of the weekend, Marblehead (Mass.) High School took home the Jim Modisette Memorial Trophy as overall winner of the Downeast Invitational. The Fishwagons finished five points ahead of the Tabor Academy’s Seawolves and 10 points ahead of Belmont Hill School — both private schools from Massachusetts — in an out-of-state sweep of the top three places.
Camden Hills High School finished fourth overall and won the Maine School Sailing Association Trophy as the top Maine school. Host George Stevens Academy finished 18th.
“Our top team did well with Alec Fisichella and Jacob Peabody in A boat and Lucas Ingebritson and his little brother Nathan in the B boat,” MDI Coach John Macauley said Monday. “Overall, the Trojans came in sixth out of 19 teams and third in state.”
The Trojans got a tough break when a race in which the A boat scored a bullet (first place) was thrown out because a course mark had drifted out of position.
“Overall, I am very pleased with our group,” Macauley said. “They are surprisingly mature and definitely committed to sailing.” Most of them are underclassmen, and we expect good things for them in the coming years.”
Macauley had compliments for both MMA and George Stevens.
“It was a great two days on the water,” he said. “The venue was spectacular, and our hosts, GSA and MMA, did a wonderful job this year.”
This year, the regatta organizers presented a new prize, the Butch Minson Corinthian Spirit Award, in memory of the longtime MMA sailing coach and supporter of high school and youth sailing who died last year. The award goes to the “competitor demonstrating superior compliance with the recognized rules of racing and the highest principles of sportsmanship and fair play” and is chosen by the team coaches and regatta personnel.
Winner of the inaugural Minson Award was Emily Lau, a sailor for the Islesboro Central School team. The Islesboro Eagles finished ninth overall and fifth among Maine teams.
“The conditions were near ideal,” GSA Coach Andy Stephenson said Sunday evening. “Our A boat, Sylvia Burns and Silas Murnik, had a first and a sixth as their best finishes and finished 13th over all.”
The GSA Eagles brought nine sailors to the regatta, and all of them sailed in at least one race.
“For many, it was the largest event they had ever sailed in, and for some, it was their first regatta ever,” Stephenson said. “While I wish we had finished higher in the fleet, I’m proud of the way our kids conducted themselves. Every sailor came ready to give their best and to learn a little more about the sport.”
Next up on the Hancock County high school sailing schedule is the annual Great Harbor Regatta, scheduled for May 25 in Southwest Harbor.