CASTINE — Twenty-eight high school sailors from around the state converged on Saturday, Oct. 22 to compete for the girls state championship.

Maine Maritime Academy hosted the annual event and a fresh October breeze made for an exhilarating regatta, said
Todd Schwendeman of the Apprenticeshop group.

Girls state sailing championship. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bewsher

Cape Elizabeth sailors Tess Straw and Nora Shroder turned in an impressive performance on a wind-whipped course to be state champs and take home the Becton Cup.

Smith Cove provided the perfect setting for the races, and a 12-15-knot Southwesterly, gusting in the low 20s, kept the young sailors on edge, Schwendeman said.

Schwendeman said the two-person dinghies, called 420s because of their 420-centimeter length, rocketed downwind on the reaching legs, which elicited hoots and hollers of delight from the racers. Upwind legs were a battle against the wind and spray, as the lead boats often traded places, and less-experienced boats at the back of the fleet hung on for dear life at times. At the end of the day the docks buzzed with excited teenage chatter, sparked by the invigorating day on the water, and well-deserved feelings of success for participants.

Apprenticeshop sailors who competed were Alma Bewsher and crew Erin Betz of Isleboro/Rockland; Ava Tobias and crew Greer Lafiura of Camden; and Abby Williams and crew Raya Luehman of Camden.

Camden Hills senior Williams teamed with first-year Leuman, and earned second overall with a gritty performance, said Schwendeman, who added the somewhat undersized pair (for the strong wind) exhibited strong skill and determination as they battled at the front of the 14-boat fleet.

In the final race of the exhausting day, Williams and Luehman fought back from sixth to second, as they edged 2021 champions Piper Carleton and Kate Mason at the finish.

Girls state sailing championship. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bewsher

Schwendeman said the Camden sailors tacked away from second-place Lincoln Academy of Newcastle 100 feet from the finish, to sail their own path to the low end of the finish line; an intelligent, but risky move, rarely seen at the high school level. It was risky because adding an extra tack at the end of a race will only add time if executed poorly, or with too much caution.

Williams and Luehman nailed the tack, and used the last of their strength and enthusiasm to sprint to the finish, to edge the LA boat by one second to claim second overall.

“A sublime piece of sailing to cap off an awesome performance.” said Apprenticeshop coach Patrick DiLalla.

Midcoast sailors dominate MMA regatta

Midcoast high school sailors who represented students in district that include Camden Hills of Rockport, Oceanside of Rockland and Islesboro traveled to Maine Maritime Academy on Saturday, Oct. 15 for the second event in the Pen Bay Sailing League Fall Series.

Under cloudy skies, occasional fog and initial light winds, the local teams, that race out of The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, competed in two-person 420 dinghies against Boothbay Region, Castine, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, Mount Desert Island and Portland.

Midcoast high school sailors in Castine. Photo courtesy of Todd Schwendeman

Nine races were held throughout the day as shifty winds and strong current kept Peter Clapp, race committee chairman, busy as he adjusted the course.

The Midcoast squads fielded eight pairs in the fleet of 18, and dominated the regatta, as they placed four pairs among the top six.

First in the team standings (A and B pairs combined scores) was Camden Hills, led by Charlie Conover and crew Olive Walker (Camden-B) in second, while Julian Henderson and crew Abby Williams (Camden-A) placed third.

Oceanside finished second overall with Henri Weymouth and crew Raya Leuhman (Rockland-B) in fourth and Emmet Dorr and crew Aiden Weymouth (Rockland-A) sixth.

Those who rounded out the top 10 were seventh graders Oscar Barnes and crew Georgia Brainard (Rockland-C) in eighth, freshmen Oliver Lee and crew Chase Maguire (Camden-D) ninth and Alma Bewsher and crew Sara Valance (Islesboro-A) 10th. Ava Tobias and crew Greer Lafiura (Camden-C) finished 13th.

“Our sailors performed beautifully today,” said Midcoast head coach Patrick DiLalla. “We had junior high students leading a fleet of 18 boats at times; experienced Apprenticeshop sailors showing that consistency wins regattas; and happy faces all-around at the end of the day.”

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