PHOTO BY STEPHEN RAPPAPORT

MDI sailors garner experience and a win at Portland regatta



PORTLAND — It felt almost like summer on shore, but an ocean breeze kept the chill on for high school sailors at the Perfect Score team racing regatta hosted by SailMaine in Portland Harbor on Sunday.

The brisk temperatures did nothing to cool off a hot Falmouth High School team. The appropriately named Yachtsmen swept their races against teams from four other schools — Camden Hills, Rockland, Cheverus and MDI. The Trojans beat the Cheverus team for their only win of the day, but it was not MDI’s only victory.

“We had a great day,” MDI coach George Deans said in a Monday email. “The score and place in the final results (fourth of five teams) were not the important things for the young team. They all learned a great deal and gained experience sailing against the more seasoned sailors.”

Sunday’s regatta was a team racing event, with each school sending three boats to the line for a best-of-three series against every other school.

Falmouth swept all four sets, not losing a single race.

MDI swept Cheverus for its only win.

“Falmouth was an overpowering force,” Deans said. “They controlled every race with magnificent boat handling and skills and superb teamwork.”

In sailing, boats are scored based on the order of finish, with the winning boat earning one point. In team racing, the goal is to finish with the lowest aggregate three-boat score. That often requires a keen sense of tactics.

Falmouth’s plan, Deans said, was to seize first and second place by the first windward mark and have its third boat play defense, forcing the other teams boats to slow down or sail a longer course.

“Falmouth led a clinic on how team racing can be done,” Deans said.

Even if the island sailors didn’t win the regatta, they came away with some valuable lessons.

The Trojans are a young team, with only one senior sailing on Sunday. Most of the other schools filled their boats with seniors who had years of racing experience. Despite that difference, MDI never fell short on effort.

“Our kids sail hard, no matter what the result, and they do not give up or get discouraged,” Deans said. “They are just getting better each week.”

Sailing conditions off the Portland waterfront were nearly ideal. A light morning breeze built throughout the day to about 12 knots, with an occasional gust to 16 or so, but never became obstreperous. The flooding tide conveniently switched to an afternoon ebb, giving the young sailors the chance to race in varied conditions.

Sailing for MDI were skippers Connor Ratcliff with Anita Wray, Chris Booher with Chloe Vincenty and Kincaid MacCulloch with Kevin Elk.

The team was slated to resume its regular schedule of dual regattas with George Stevens on Wednesday for the first match of the year Maine Maritime Academy.

Both schools are slated to send all-girl squads to the Rebecca Herreshoff Trophy qualifier at Massachusetts Maritime Academy on Saturday with the hope of reaching the final, hosted by MIT on the Charles River, on Sunday.

The Downeast Invitational Regatta, one of the largest high school sailing events in the Northeast, is scheduled for the MMA waterfront May 16 and 17.

For more photos, visit http://ellsworthamerican.smugmug.com/The-Ellsworth-American/School/MDIHS-at-MDI-Portland/

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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