NORTHEAST HARBOR — Fourteen crews participated at the IOD Class North American Championships held in Northeast Harbor Sept. 8-11 and it was a local boat that took the top honors. Boats and their crews came from San Francisco, Annapolis, Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Long Island Sound, New York City, Marblehead and Northeast Harbor.
Sofie Dowling skippered the winning boat, Woodie, with her close friends Connor Ratcliff, Lucas Ingebritson, Alec Fisichella, Kevin Elk and Sean Beaulieu. The crew from Mount Desert Island, who all learned how to sail on these waters at the MDI Community Sailing Center in Southwest Harbor, absolutely crushed the competition, which was held over three days with seven races. Scoring four first-place finishes and three second-place finishes in the seven-race series, this stellar group won without even having to sail the last race.
The winds of Maine are especially fickle in September, but that seemed to ease these sailors as they had the confidence to read the ripples and keep their sailboat always at the front of the pack.
In the sixth race, Dowling had gotten squeezed out at the starting line and had to circle round with all the other boats having an almost insurmountable lead of a minute at the start of the race. But they kept clawing back. Starting in fourteenth place, this team was back in eighth place by the first mark. By the end of the run, they had moved up to sixth place. In a long leg that was upwind climbing out of the entire length of Somes Sound, Dowling worked her magic and kept her boat sailing fast, playing the wind shifts to her advantage and keeping her race boat in the favorable ebbing current.
Next week, the red-hot team will be competing at the World Championship of the International Class in Fishers Island, N.Y.
Don’t bet against them – they are coming to do business.