SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School sailing team hit the water Tuesday for their first practice, following a winter of work by Mount Desert Island Community Sailing Center volunteers on the boats and the facility, and a week of dry-land preparation.
“We had to get all the prep work done for the season last week,” Coach George Deans said. “There’s paperwork, getting everybody up to speed.” They also conducted swim tests for team members and launched a few of the boats.
“It’s nice to get it started again in spite of all the snow and late winter,” he said. “Spring will get here, and we’ll be on our way.”
He said that 34 students signed up for the spring team, but the number tends to drop somewhat as the season goes on. Last year, they had 25 regulars.
Deans will be assisted by John Macauley, who will help lead the JV squad of newer sailors at their own regattas. A crew of volunteer coaches helps operate chase boats and give pointers.
Every Wednesday of the season, beginning April 8, the MDI sailing team meets George Stevens Academy for midweek scrimmage regattas. MDI will host these in April. In May, when the Maine Maritime Academy dock is less busy, GSA will host there.
The first official regatta is set for April 11-12 in Marblehead, Mass. The following weekend, the varsity and JV fleets are set to compete separately in SailMaine events in Portland.