Sunday, 18 May 2014 23:40

16th Annual Downeast Sailing Regatta

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CASTINE - Over 100 high school students from across New England were in Castine for an annual competition, one that requires an immense amount of balance and maneuvering. Karina Bolster has more from Maine Maritime Academy where sailors were in abundance.

Teams from 13 high schools across the Northeast crossed the finish line Sunday for the 16th annual Downeast Sailing Regatta.


"It's one of the larger events in the Northeast in high school sailing for many years now," Tom Gutow, Varsity Sailing Coach for George Stevens Academy, says. "It's a great location because Maine Maritime Academy has all the equipment, the waterfront, and it was able to house all the students in the dormitory since college is pretty much done."


For one of the first times the students were able to stay on campus under the same roof, providing a bonding opportunity with others.


"They got to visit with each other, and I got enjoyment out of watching them interact with one another, which hasn't happened in the past," Warren Silver, Varsity Sailing Coach for Nauset Regional High School, says.


"It's nice to see and meet people who share your interests," David Doherty, of the Nauset Regional High School Sailing Team, says. "We all stayed at the dorms over the weekend, so to be able to interact with each other was definitely a plus."


When it came to the competition, it was every team for itself, maneuvering around buoys as swiftly as possible, and sometime, colliding with one another.


Typically teams completed the course in ten to fifteen minutes, but for many they wanted a couple more knots of breeze.


"It's just a little too little," Rob Whitaker, of the Nauset Regional High School Sailing Team, says. "I'd like to see this venue with a more consistent breeze."


"It's a light air with shifty conditions," Gutow says. "So as a result it's very challenging and it takes a lot of experience to do well in this type of sailing weather."


As for the team from Marblehead High School in Massachusetts, those conditions were what they found to be the most challenging of the day.


"It's a light breeze, anything can happen," Renee, from Marblehead High School says. "Pretty unpredictable." "Reading the current has been tough too," Lily, also from the team, says.


For the venue's veterans who oversaw the event, each year is just another memorable experience.


"Watching all these kids finish, all you hear is thank you," Tom Brown, Head Sailing Coach at Maine Maritime Academy, says. "It's really neat to be able to help these kids out and get them out here on the water. It's a big event, and we're really happy to be able to run it."


Yarmouth High School took first place at the regatta, followed by Marblehead High School in second, and Belmont Hill School in third.


Congratulations and good luck to all the teams who competed Sunday.

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