Mount Desert Island High School sailor Alec Fisichella gets zipped into a drysuit by teammate Kincaid MacCulloch. PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

High school sailing gets underway

PORTLAND — The Mount Desert Island High School sailing team finished fifth of seven teams in the varsity division and second in JV competition Saturday at the Latchstring Regatta in Portland Harbor.

Twelve Trojan sailors made the trip, the first in a busy competition schedule planned for MDI sailing this spring.

“The sailors all did well, and we had a good regatta, a very respectable first of the season,” Coach George Deans said.

The weather was cool and wet when they arrived. There was no wind, and the races were postponed until after lunch. It was still raining after lunch, but the teams headed out to race in southerly wind that built from 4 knots to 8-10 over the afternoon.

“The sailors who are vying for varsity spots were split into varsity and junior varsity divisions for this regatta,” Deans said. “That gave us a chance to look at the sailors in competitive situations. We have not made final boat pairings. Those will change as the season and conditions change.”

Mount Desert Island High School sailor Kincaid MacCulloch, right, demonstrates to teammates how to get excess air out when donning a drysuit. PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Mount Desert Island High School sailor Kincaid MacCulloch, right, demonstrates to teammates how to get excess air out when donning a drysuit.

The early competition gave coaches a better sense of what to work on in drills, he said. “The entire fleet was ‘rusty’ after the winter. We’ve had three practices on the water, and the Portland teams have had only two going into the weekend, so all were finding their way.”

The MDI varsity ‘A’ and ‘B’ boats finished with 50 and 49 points, respectively, combined for the fifth-place finish. The JV ‘A’ boat had 24 and ‘B’ had 21 for second place. Kincaid MacCullough was skipper for the team’s one bullet (first-place finish) on the day, in a JV race.

“We are looking at a deep lineup of skippers and crew, as we have three seniors and 15 juniors returning,” Deans said. “Our ‘learn to sail’ program has another eight sailors, so we look strong and growing.” More experienced sailors will be expected to help with teaching the newcomers, coaches said.

“No one’s guaranteed a spot on the varsity,” Assistant Coach John Macauley said. Coaches are watching for skill development, but also teamwork and leadership skills, he said.

MDI began scrimmage racing Wednesday with the George Stevens Academy team this week. Those races are at the MDI Community Sailing Center in April and move to the Maine Maritime Academy campus in May.

They travel to Marblehead, Mass., this weekend for a two-day team racing regatta with Marblehead High School and GSA. The following Saturday, April 16, they’ll return to Portland for the George O’Day qualifying regatta.

Coaches also are hoping to encourage the girls on the team to sail as skippers, with an eye toward being able to send a team to womens’ regattas.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Liz Graves is managing editor of the Islander. She's a California native who came to Maine as a schooner
Liz Graves

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