High winds, fierce competition at Great Harbor Regatta



SOUTHWEST HARBOR — After an afternoon of boat handling and maneuvering in 10-20 mile per hour winds Saturday in the second annual Great Harbor Invitational Regatta, each of the sailors from the 10 participating Maine and New Hampshire high school teams was standing tall.

The Falmouth Clippers were the winners of this year’s Glenn Squires Trophy, named for the director of the host Mount Desert Island Community Sailing Center. The Clippers had a low team score of 13 and bullets in six of the day’s eight races. Rockland was second with 38, Yarmouth third with 41. Mount Desert Island High School was fifth with 50 points. MDI had one second-place finish. George Stevens Academy came in sixth with 55 and one third-place finish.

“This is the first time we’ve had really good wind for a regatta,” MDI assistant coach John Macauley said. “Maybe it’s a little too good. But it’ll be one of those growing days for the kids. They’ve gotten much more confident; they’re not skittish in high winds.”

Mount Desert Island High School sailors Kevin Elk and Chris Booher catch up to the Falmouth boat at the leeward gate during racing Saturday at the Great Harbor Invitational Regatta.  PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

Mount Desert Island High School sailors Kevin Elk and Chris Booher catch up to the Falmouth boat at the leeward gate during racing Saturday at the Great Harbor Invitational Regatta.
PHOTO BY LIZ GRAVES

The regatta was set to begin at 9:30 a.m., but organizers postponed the beginning of racing till 11:30 a.m. The “Turbo” 420s are equipped with a reefing system, a way to shorten sail more common in larger boats. “We couldn’t have sailed this regatta without the reefing system,” center director Glenn Squires said.

The delay gave volunteers time to tie reefs on each of the boats. The wind died down a bit from the blustery morning, but under scattered clouds, gusts up to 22 miles per hour were felt all afternoon.

Dozens of parent and community volunteers pitched in to make the event safe and successful. Sailing instructors, parents, coaches and even a sailmaker were on hand. Breakfast, lunch and underway snacks are essential to running a regatta.

The reefs and good boat handling prevented capsizing, but early in the day, many boats suffered blown out jibs. Wells Bacon organized the troops, explained racing rules and sent results.

Skip Strong ran the launch boat to ferry sailors and change out crews between races.

To purchase or view more photos, click here.

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.