MDI sailors are top ‘Salty Dogs’



Connor Ratcliff, skipper, and crew Kevin Elk of the Mount Desert Island Community Sailing Center high school club team sail along the Portland waterfront on their way to a team victory Saturday at the Salty Dog Regatta. PHOTO COURTESY KEVIN FAHRMAN

Connor Ratcliff, skipper, and crew Kevin Elk of the Mount Desert Island Community Sailing Center high school club team sail along the Portland waterfront on their way to a team victory Saturday at the Salty Dog Regatta. PHOTO COURTESY KEVIN FAHRMAN

PORTLAND — The high school club sailing team from the Mount Desert Island Community Sailing Center were the winners of the Salty Dog 420 regatta hosted by SailMaine in Portland Saturday.

The MDI team ended the day with 36 points, putting them in first place out of 11 teams competing.

“It’s our first team win in quite a while,” Coach John Macauley said. “It was a wonderful way to finish the season. The crews, Connor Ratcliff and Kevin Elk (A rotation), and Chris Booher and Alec Fisichella (B rotation), got 2 bullets each for a total of 4 first place finishes for MDI.”

The team improved dramatically over the season, Macauley said. “One of the keys was I found combinations of skippers and crew that really worked well. They all know what they’re doing – the coaches are just giving minor tweaks and reminders. Like, ‘Keep the hull flat and don’t look behind you all the time!’”

Sailing conditions were challenging, Macauley said, with variable 10-knot winds. “We were right downwind from the big terminal where the cruise ships come in. A ship arrived and blocked the wind. That made it dicey for a while. But everyone had to deal with the same problem.”

Assistant coach Ian Campbell was on hand for the competition. “He’s got a lot of experience and is a real natural working with the kids,” Macauley said. “He was instrumental in providing direction and support to the sailors.”

This Saturday, the youth sailing season wraps up with the Sailing Center’s annual fall intra-squad Pumpkin Race in Southwest Harbor. Six of the “Turbo” 420s are available for the day, and the 12:30 p.m. race is open to any 2014 high school sailors. Contact the center to register.

The Pumpkin Race will be followed by the annual hauling of the 420s for the season.

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.

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