Under blue skies, bright sun and a few puffy clouds, 59 sailors from nine Maine sailing clubs participated in the eighth annual Red Jacket Youth Sailing Regatta July 31.

The regatta was started by Rockland Community Sailing in 2003 to foster the sportsmanship, teamwork and sailing skills that racing develops in youth, said Kevin “KC” Heyniger, waterfront program director at RCS.

The race was held at the Rockland Harbor. The course was set approximately a quarter-mile west of the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.

Participating teams included Rockland Community Sailing, St. George Community Sailing, North Haven Casino, Camden Yacht Club, Rockport Boat Club, Northport Yacht Club, Stockton Harbor Sailing Center, Castine Yacht Club and Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club. A 10th conglomerate team was formed from members of different teams and nicknamed the “Red Jacket Dream Team.”

“This was the biggest and smoothest running Red Jacket Regatta with 59 sailors coming together and enjoying excellent racing out near the Breakwater Lighthouse,” said Heyniger. “Many thanks to sponsors Allen Insurance and Financial, Maritime Energy and Dominos Pizza for their support and nearly 40 volunteers who ran boats, races, barbecues, registrations, and hundreds of other tasks to make the event a great success.”

During the prerace organizing, one team did not show and an extra boat was available. Participating coaches decided to form a “conglomerate” team, nicknamed the “Dream Team,” with sailors from different clubs to get another boat on the start line. There was no wind at the beginning of the day. Some feared the racing would be slow and possibly postponed. However, as sailors headed out towards the course, the wind filled in. Sailors raced in single-person eight-foot Optimist dinghies and two-person 15-foot sloops called 420s. Each race lasted about 15 minutes and required sailors to utilize sailing and boathandling skills while understanding how to best use the wind and weather to sail fast around the half-mile triangular courses.

Both fleets raced at the same time but on two different courses. The race committee ran two start lines at the same time — one for the Optimist fleet and the other for the 420 fleet. The start lines extend from each side of the race committee boat, a Saga 48 “Altair” owned by Apprenticeshop board member Rick Palm.

“Imagine two NASCAR race tracks side-by-side and starting and finishing races every 10-15 minutes — that is what the race committee is doing for the entire event,” said Heyniger. This year the race committee ran 20 separate races  — the most in any Red Jacket Regatta to date.

Another small, but significant first for Rockland Community Sailing, Heyniger said, was having all of its own boats for visiting teams to use during the regatta. In the past, RCS actually borrowed boats from other clubs to have enough for the event.

“This year we fielded all 20 of our own boats, which is a satisfying step forward after starting the event seven years ago with hardly any boats,” said Heyniger. “We used to go crazy getting sail and hull numbers from other teams ahead of time to score the races, but his time both Optimist and 420 fleets were numbered 1-10 greatly simplifying race logistics.”

The teams raced in “A” and “B” Divisions in a rotation that allowed more sailors to race on fewer boats. “A” Division sailors raced twice, then land on a float and switched with “B” Division sailors, who raced twice and then switched again with “A” Division. This rotation continued throughout the regatta.

The top finishers by clubs in each division were:

Optimist “A” Division – 1, Boothbay Harbor YC; 2, Rockland Community Sailing; and 3, North Haven Casino.

Optimist “B” Division – 1, Camden YC; 2, Castine YC; and 3, North Haven Casino.

420 “A” Division – 1, Red Jacket Dream Team; 2, North Haven Casino; and 3, Northport YC.

420 “B” Division – 1, Boothbay Harbor YC; 2, Northport YC; and 3, North Haven Casino YC.

Trophies for first-, second- and third-place finishers were wood hand-made triangular sails modeled after the numerous jibs flying off the bow of the famous Rockland-built clipper ship Red Jacket. Launched in 1853 next to what is now the Apprenticeshop pier, the 250-foot Red Jacket set sailing records that stand to this day and was widely known for its beautiful craftsmanship. The ship’s name was selected for the regatta to foster connections between today’s youth sailors and Maine’s rich sailing and boat-building heritage, Heyniger said.

The coaches’ award was given to the sailor whose ability to work well with the team, learn from coaches, and put their knowledge to work stood out. This years’ winner was William Bradley, 9, of Stockton Harbor Sailing Club. Bradley received a copy of “Maritime America” by Peter Neill, former president of South Street Seaport in New York. The book illustrates America’s rich maritime heritage with boats, art, and nautical artifacts photographed from across the country.

The sportsmanship award was given to a sailor who exemplified great competition and excellent sportsmanship. This year’s winner was Abby Chamberlin, 12, of Rockport Boat Club. During one race, Chamberlin’s boat took on lots of water and before she had the chance to bail all the water out she just kept sailing for the finish line. “Her ‘never-give-up’attitude and her desire to keep racing instead of complaining or quitting represents the sportsmanship we hope sailors learn out on the race course,” said Heyniger.

The sportsmanship trophy is an old wood rudder. The winner is given a hammer and metal punches and the sailor taps his/her name into a brass plate and screws it to the rudder. This unique ceremony reflects the “hand-on, can-do” philosophy of The Apprenticeshop’s history of inspiring personal growth through craftsmanship, community and the traditions of the sea, Heyniger said.

Along with sponsors Allen Insurance and Financial, Maritime Energy and Dominos Pizza, Heyniger thanked the Rockland Yacht Club, David Jones, Rick Palm, Julie Palm, Scott Carlson, Ship Safford, Walt Matthews, Fred Boursier, Martha Page, Adam Yanchunis, Patrick DiLalla, Alan Athearn, Tom Goettal, Dale Young, Mike Root, Stacy Palmer, Petra Palmer, Steve Moskowitz, Sam Moskowitz, Martha Moskowitz, John Rosenblum, Erica Crane, Beth Chamberlin, Collin Pope, Robin Lewis, Devon Gordon, Caroline Albertson, Aidan Gordon, Isabel Crane, Louisa Crane, Gareth and Dominique Gordon, Gretchen Kuhn, Patrick Lydon and all the clubs and volunteers assisting with the event. He said Prock Marine Company loaned RCS its mooring site for the Red Jacket Regatta floats.

A list of club sailors, with ages listed when available, and coaches were:

Rockland Community Sailing — Coach: Collin Pope. Sailors: Louisa Crane, 13; Thatcher Chamberlin, 13; Jack Lutat, 13; Harper B. Gordon, 13; Timothy Murray, 9; and Preston Spear, 14.

Camden Yacht Club — Coaches: Andrew Beauchesne and Marnie Merrill. Sailors: Emma Conover, 17; Sam Jordon; Cameron Mahan, 15; Sophie Moore, 11; Lydia Morin; Dylan Smith, 15; Wyatt Smith, 15; and Griffin Strout, 11.

RJR Conglomerate “Dream Team” — Sailors: Charlie Iselin, NHC; Lydia Morin, Camden YC; Wyatt Smith, 15, Camden YC; Isabel Crane, 13, RCS; and Jack Marin, 13, RBC.

North Haven Casino — Coaches: Summer Fisher, Sarah Hyman and Frank Jackson. Sailors: Nick DePont, 15; Charlie Iselin; Caroline Jackson, 16; Sophie Kerr, 16; Andrew Pearce, 14; Sophia Schaefer, 11; and Felix Wolfrom, 11.

Northport Yacht Club — Coaches: Rasha El-Jaroudi, Mike Cassidy and Jim Kelly. Sailors: Nadin El-Jaroudi, 16; Connor Cassidy, 15; Jake Kelly, 13; Charlie Kelly; Erik Ekberg, 14; Hannah Homans, 14; Ben Webster, 12; and John Williams.

St. George Community Sailing — Coaches: Blair Southworth and Briggs Hupper. Sailors: Chase Flaherty, 12; Jack Hupper, 14; Zach Cody, 10; Svilen Kolev, 14; and Justin Mangold, 14.

Castine Yacht Club — Coaches: Maggie Hynes and Emily Bicks. Sailors: Isabelle Bicks, 11; Carolyn Brown; Liza Morgioni, 15; Liddy Salter, 14; Molly Salter, 16; and Jamie Stuart-Smith.

Stockton Harbor Sailing Center — Coaches: Steve Jancarek and Betsy Bradley. Sailors: William Bradley, 9; William Collins, 12; Chris Jancarek, 14; Kyle Nicholas, 13; William Nichols, 16; Garrett Smith, 12; and Abbigale Szatkowski, 12.

Rockport Boat Club — Coaches: Charlotte Wilder, Andrew Godbout and Nick White. Sailors: Abby Chamberlin, 12; Catherine Daly, 12; Max Horovitz, 13; Jack Marin, 13; Wilson McKay; Braden Nolen, 14; and Sully Nolan, 13.

Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club — Coaches: Kay Kilpatrick and Mary Jo Poitras. Sailors: Sherman Brewer, 13, Jessica Murphy, 15, Corinne Poitras and Jax Van de Veen.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@villagesoup.com.