MOUNT DESERT — Sailing enthusiasts from several area yacht clubs and groups gathered Sunday for a race and dinner dance to celebrate the Great Harbor Dream, a cooperative effort to encourage youth sailing in the area.
“You have made the dream come true,” Commodore David Schoeder of the Northeast Harbor Fleet told the group, referring to the fleet of state-of-the-art Rondar “Turbo” 420s, a new floating dock with pavilion at Greening Island and competitive success by local young sailors. Glenn Squires of the Mount Desert Island Community Sailing Center ferried partygoers out to see the new dock.
Representatives of the Seal Harbor Yacht Club and Mount Desert Island YMCA, which runs the sailing camp with the Bar Harbor Yacht Club, spoke about the benefits of the cooperative project.
“Acquiring a skill which can last a lifetime is easier and more fun with the high school team and the youth programs from the Cranberries, Southwest, Northeast, Seal and Bar Harbors all utilizing the boats and staff,” Fleet director Fran Charles said in a statement. “Thanks to all of the many contributors who are making the Dream come true.”
A few days before the celebration, rising Mount Desert Island High School junior Connor Ratcliff and summer resident Skye Ehrhart became state 420 champions at a regatta in Freeport. “They have grown up sailing summers together,” Skye’s dad Mark Ehrhart said. “They practiced together for two hours before the event to take a 10-point lead and win the Maine State Championship.”
At the Great Harbor Dream pursuit race at home Sunday, a crew of young local sailors won the day in Far Out. All learned to sail and have taught sailing here. Many of them were part of the Mount Desert Island High School team.
Skipper Joe Kief was joined by Carson Crain, who heads to Rio next week on his Olympic windsurfing campaign, Northeast Harbor Sailing School director Liana Folger, Andrew and William Kimball, Izaak Giberson and Frosty Pepper. As the first Morris Yachts-built boat to finish, Far Out also won the Tom Morris Memorial Trophy.
The race had record turnout, Charles said. “Thirty-four boats competed in the pursuit-style race. The breeze made for a close hauled beat out the Western Way followed by a beam reach over to Baker Island. A decision needed to be made on which side to pass Sutton Island on the sprint back to Gilpatrick Cove in Northeast Harbor. Most boats chose the south side of the island, but those who took a risk and went north made big gains.”
Joe Weber’s Dreadnought, also a Morris, was runner-up. David Rockefeller’s Cybele was third after coming within a boat length of catching the two leaders.