Nine sailors of the Boothbay Region Sailing Club traveled to The Apprenticeshop in Rockland on Sunday, May 5 for a favorite race, the annual Breakwater Blast Regatta. The Breakwater Blast is a JV regatta designed to give younger sailors, as well as older developing sailors, a chance to race against similar competitors, and provides an exciting environment in which to test their skills. The Breakwater Blast has since its inception been a welcome opportunity in the Midcoast for the less heralded sailor to earn some glory against his peers. This year Rockland hosted a record 12 teams from nine clubs, making for a full day of tough competition from all 24 boats.
Several of the peninsula’s newest sailors headed to Rockland for a fun sail with exciting results. Many of the sailors had limited previous sailing experience, and two sailors, Vincent Salzwedel, a sophomore German exchange student at BRHS, and Jackson Ross, a seventh grader at BRMS, sailed for the first time in their life just this spring through the BRSC.
The day opened with extremely light winds, ideal conditions for the lighter JV sailor. Young Hannah Hills, a sixth grader at BRMS who proudly tips the scales at 70 pounds only after a generous pre-race dinner and while soaking wet, knew this day was built for sailors like her. Several on the young and skinny Boothbay team looked at the larger competitors, some stretching up to six feet tall, and realized that this could be their day, a celebratory day for short skinny kids everywhere.
The first race had a leisurely start with winds at maybe 1/2 of a knot. The Boothbay A team of Arden Carleton and Toby Clarkson drifted through the course, but never lost focus. They finished fourth out of twelve but knew they could improve. With Arden, who began racing 420s just this spring, at the helm for her first regatta as skipper, and in the same breeze, they finished the next race in an incredible first place. After the winds picked up, Arden and Toby would repeat their victory later and sail to another first place finish. Arden and Toby finished their exciting day with heads held high.
Vincent Salzwedel crewed in his first ever regatta with skipper Bobby Clarkson for Boothbay’s B team against eleven other boats. They, too, drifted through the course to place sixth, but knew they could do better, finishing the next in third. Hannah Hills joined Bobby for the next two races. On their last race of the day, the wind improved but shifted nearly 180 during the race. An excellent start combined with sharp eyes for the wind found them in an unusual downwind race to cross the finish line clearly in first place. Hannah, who had never sailed in a high school regatta until this spring, and Bobby, finally beginning to settle into the skipper’s position, were both beaming and are now more motivated than ever to work hard in the future and repeat the victory.
Boothbay’s second team consisted of an A boat, manned by Piper Carleton and Kate Mason, and a B boat, manned by Maren Whitney, Vincent Salzwedel and Hannah Hills, with Jackson Ross present to help. Piper, a seventh grader at CLT, and Kate, an eighth grader at CLT, placed as high as fifth against 12 boats, certainly a worthy accomplishment for such young sailors new to racing 420s. Their combined score placed them in the upper 50% of the day’s teams after a job well done. The B boat, manned by our newest sailors, finished each race with a smile and valuable experience.
At the end of all races, Coach Chris Liberti gathered with notes in hand to instruct and teach each sailor. Many thanks to Chris and parent helper Todd Carleton for the incredible improvement seen in all the sailors this spring.
Out of 12 teams and 24 boats, Islesboro placed first by a clear margin, with Boothbay I in second, and Cheverus third. Other teams present were Boothbay II, Rockland, Camden, Portland, MDI I & II, George Stevens I & II, and Stockton Harbor. Congratulations, team!
The Boothbay Region Sailing Club exists to provide racing opportunities for high school, middle school, and home schooled sailors in the Boothbay community and beyond during the fall and spring seasons. We take sailors of all ability levels and provide financial aid to ensure monetary issues do not prevent any student from learning to sail. Thanks to the parents, whose support and enthusiasm is much appreciated. Also, many thanks to the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club for hosting team practices and regattas. Lastly, the BRSC could not exist without the very generous support of the Junior Program Foundation, its members, and its donors.