SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Mount Desert Island High School sophomore sailors Connor Ratcliff and Lily Anderson earned the trophy for the final race of the season here. It’s a pumpkin with “#1” carved into it. The small intra-squad Pumpkin Race marks the end of the high school club sailing season at the MDI Community Sailing Center.
Four 420s were on the line Saturday for the Pumpkin Race. Chris Booher and Kevin Elk were runners-up.
“It was a beautiful day,” sailing center director Glenn Squires said. “After the race, the kids unstepped all the masts. Then they sailed the center’s two Luders Sunday. They just couldn’t get enough!
“Overall on the season, I was so pleased with the spring and fall teams. We had a record number of sailors – 14 in the fall, more than double previous years. And they would just keep sailing if it wasn’t getting so nasty out.”
The fall club team included MDI juniors Chris Booher, Nicole Brown, Kirstin DiMauro, Pierce DiMauro, Kevin Elk and Madeline Macauley; sophomores Hutchin Gerrish, Kincaid MacCullough and Connor Ratcliff; freshmen Ryan Murphy and Will Renault; and Tremont eighth grader Alec Fisichella.
“This was a dedicated bunch of kids and I’m very optimistic about the future of Trojan sailing,” coach John Macauley said. The team picked up a first-place finish last week at SailMaine’s Salty Dog regatta.
Squires was glad to see that youth sailing is an island-wide phenomenon. The spring and fall teams include kids from each of the four MDI towns, he said. “The momentum is certainly picking up for high school sailing.”
All the sailing center’s boats are coming out of the water for the season this week, Squires said. “It’s been a good, long season with seven months of sailing. We started April 1.” The sailing center had a busy season for adult programs in addition to its youth sailing activities.
The new Turbo 420s got a workout this year, and will need some minor gelcoat and bottom repairs this winter. “We’re working on asking local boatyards for in-kind donations,” Squires said. “The response has been good so far.”
During the season, the 420s were kept on several different small wooden floats around MDI. The idea was to provide access to teen sailors in several different harbors. This year the fasteners in the wooden floats began to scratch up the hulls, Squires said.
The sailing center and other sailing groups have begun plans for a larger aluminum float to be moored off the western shore of Greenings Island. “We’re working on fundraising for it now,” Squires said. “It will have space for 24 boats on it, with a pavilion in the middle for instruction.” The new float would give MDI the capability of hosting larger regattas, he said. A first Great Harbor Regatta in the spring season this year was a success, and they hope to expand it into a two-day event.
Other sailing center boats, like the Bulls-eye fleet used almost every day in the summer, will have maintenance work done by volunteers. “After the winter holidays are over, we’ll have volunteer workdays in the shop,” Squires said. “There’s lots to do.”