BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School spring sailing team has a new captain at its helm.
John Macauley was hired as the head coach after serving as an assistant coach for several years under George Deans, who retired last year.
Macauley also heads up the area’s fall Penobscot Valley Sailing League middle and high school team.
As of this week, some 40 young skippers have signed up for the MDI High School sailing team. Of that number, the new coach expects to have about 20 or so “hardcore” sailors.
“Our biggest goal is to have a successful season for our outgoing seniors,” Macauley said this week. “We have a large bunch, and most experienced sailors are seniors, and we also have a wave of incoming freshmen who are going to learn how to sail.”
Macauley will be assisted by Tom Brown of Northeast Harbor, a three-time Paralympic Games medalist and former head coach of the Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) varsity sailing team from 2008-2014.
During Brown’s six-year tenure at MMA, the Mariners were the national intercollegiate offshore sailing champions and winners of the Kennedy Cup in 2010. In 2011, MMA represented the United States at the Student Yachting World Cup La Trinite-Sur-Mer in France.
“I’ve known Tom previously by his qualifications as a sailor, and he is going to be an invaluable resource for us,” Macauley said.
For the experienced sailors on the MDI High School team, Macauley said the goal is to improve speed and focus.
“They will need to get faster and keep their heads in the boat,” said Macauley, borrowing a phrase used by crew teams. “It means pay attention, focus and make sure not to get distracted.”
As for newer sailors, the coach hopes to instill a love for the sport.
“One of our missions is to help them develop their skills and consider sailing as a lifelong skill,” he said.
The Trojans will compete in their first regatta of the season on Sunday, April 2, at the Latch-String Regatta hosted by Yarmouth High School in Portland.
The busy season will take the sailors down the coast of Maine to Rockland and Boothbay Harbor, and to Providence, R.I., and Marblehead, Mass., among other locations.
MDI High School hosts the Great Harbor Regatta on Saturday, May 27.
Although the season is just getting started, Macauley, ever a sailor, is keeping his eyes on the horizon.
“My goal is to come out this year with a winning season and try to lay a foundation for a viable team for next year,” he said.
2017 MDI High School Sailing
April 2 Latch-String Regatta Portland
April 8-9 Falmouth 6X Team Race Regatta Portland
April 22 O’Day Qualifier Marblehead, Mass.
April 23 O’Day Final New London, Conn.
April 29 Breakwater Blast (Penobscot Bay League) Rockland
April 30 Herreshoff Qualifiers Portland
May 6-7 Herreshoff Finals Providence, R.I.
May 6 Hospice Regatta (Penobscot Bay League) Rockland
May 13-14 Downeast Invitational Castine
May 21 SMHS Regatta Portland
May 27 Great Harbor Regatta Southwest Harbor
June 3 Penobscot Bay League Team Final Castine