By Liz Graves and Stephen Rappaport
BLUE HILL — The Mount Desert Island High School and George Stevens Academy sailing teams were the guests of Marblehead High School for a two-day regatta on Marblehead Harbor at the Pleon Yacht Club last weekend.
In Saturday’s round robin team racing competition, Marblehead swept both Maine teams 2-0. MDI edged out GSA 2-1 to finish second for the day. Sunday saw fleet racing, the standard format for most of the high school season.
GSA assistant coach Carsten Steenberg traveled with the Eagles on Saturday and supervised the team race events held, GSA coach Tom Gutow said, “in quite heavy air with the wind peaking just after lunch in the high teens, but gusts up to 25 lasted throughout the afternoon.”
“It was a beautiful weekend,” MDI coach George Deans said. “On Saturday, we had a 15-knot breeze out of the west with some gusts. Sunday was calmer with a 6-knot breeze. There were just enough wind shifts to keep all sailors on their game.”
On Saturday, Gutow said, Marblehead “dominated the racing,” though GSA and MDI “had some decent head-to-head races.”
The teams raced in standard 420 dinghies. Those are familiar boats for the Eagles but required some getting used to for MDI sailors, who regularly sail slightly different Turbo 420s based at the MDI Community Sailing Center in Southwest Harbor. Compared with the regular 420, the Turbos tend to be less stable, require more finesse to sail and handle something like the Flying Junior dinghy popular with many college sailing programs.
“We will be seeing these boats as well as FJs at different venues during the season,” Deans said.
On Sunday, Gutow said, “we were able to set a pretty good windward-leeward course with a leeward gate just upwind of the start-finish line.” The three schools fleet raced with three boats for each team in most of the races. It was more of a fun day than a competitive one.
“GSA and MDI fared much better in these races, with numerous high finishes throughout the day.”
Three of Sunday’s races were girls-only boats.
“MDI did not have enough girls to field three boats, so Marblehead girls joined us,” Deans said. “It did not count in scoring, but they had a chance to sail against their peers and finished in the middle of the fleet. We felt this was a good start.”
GSA and MDI will both be sending teams to the all-girls Herreshoff fleet racing qualifying regatta set for May 9 at Maine Maritime Academy. The top finishers will race against southern New England sailors in the event finals in Boston on May 10.
MDI sophomore Kincaid MacCullough was named sailor of the weekend. Teammate Lily Anderson was crew person of the weekend. Sailing together in Sunday’s races, they had five bullets, three second-place finishes, a third and a fifth, Deans said.
“They did extremely well for the first formal outing of the season. The entire coaching staff was very pleased with everyone’s performance, especially with the overall team performance.”
On April 1, MDI hosted GSA in Southwest Harbor for the first midweek scrimmage regatta of the season. They used a team racing format to prepare for Saturday’s event in Marblehead.
“It was a get-acquainted day,” Deans said. “We ran three scrimmage races.” The Eagles plan to return to MDI every Wednesday in April. In May, MDI will travel to Castine to race on GSA’s home waters.
This weekend, GSA and MDI sailors are scheduled to compete in a pair of Sail Maine events — the Cape Jamboree junior varsity regatta on Saturday and the varsity Bulldog Classic on Sunday — in Portland.
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an error. The sailor pictured at left in the top photo is Karina Rose Steenberg. The photo was taken by Caudio Van Duijn.