Young BRSC sailors make a fine first showing at home regatta

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 12:30pm

The Boothbay Region Sailing Club (BRSC) held its first invitational regatta of the spring high school season on Saturday, April 27th.  Saturday’s regatta was the first of the Pen Bay Sailing League 2019 spring series.  The BRSC welcomed sailors from Islesboro High School and the Rockland Conglomerate Team.  Under the talented instruction of BRSC coach Chris Liberti, the young team has improved significantly throughout the season and was ready to test its skills against older and more experienced sailors. 

The weather was closely watched due to early predictions of high winds and rain, but by morning the previous night’s 20 mph gales had subsided to a more manageable 12-15 mph from the west south-west, though gust and shifts continued to make conditions challenging.  By mid-afternoon the winds had settled into a consistent south-westerly course and the regatta, which started closer to the western side of the harbor, was moved out to the central channel of the harbor.  Temperatures remained in the 50’s, but a fine mist began to fall in the afternoon.

Toby Clarkson skippered with Arden Carleton as crew in Boothbay’s A boat.  Toby, a seventh grader, and Arden, a ninth-grader at Lincoln Academy and first-time racer this spring, had many challenges to overcome.  Toby was the youngest skipper of the day, and Arden had her first experience sailing a 420 when she joined BRSC this spring.   With enthusiasm and determination that overcame any lack of experience, they attacked each race, fighting for excellent starts and working together to round marks in strong placement.   In the first race of the regatta, and of their spring season, they had an excellent start and finished in second place. Enthusiasm and skill in the next race had them in first place, but a foul at the windward mark dropped them to last.  Their strong performance continued through eleven races as they finished the day with two seconds and three thirds.  Both sailors can be very proud of an excellent showing.

Boothbay’s B boat was skippered by Bobby Clarkson.  His crew for most of the day was Kate Mason, an eighth grader at CTL, with Della Hahn, a ninth grader at BRHS, filling in.  Bobby has spent most of his race career as crew, with limited previous skippering experience under his belt.  This spring has thrust him into the skipper’s position by necessity, but he reports enjoying the chance to diversify and stretch himself.  Kate was with the BRSC for one season in the past, and returned enthusiastic to race fast.  Della has been a member of the BRSC for several seasons and is a veteran.  Bobby and Kate started the first race in excellent position and finished with high-fives and a  proud third place, just behind the Boothbay A boat.  They recorded two more third-place starts before breaking for lunch, but afterwards struggled to find their placement at starts and dropped back in the standings.

Boothbay sailors also sailed in a third boat which was not allowed to score, but scrimmaged while racing with the scoring boats to gain experience.  Islesboro also brought extra sailors to add another boat to participate in the scrimmage.  Theo Crocetti, a ninth grader at Lincoln Academy, Maren Whitney, a tenth grader at BRHS, and Hannah Hills, a sixth grader at BRMS, swapped out with Della during the day to skipper and crew the C boat.  Theo, brand new to racing this season, Maren, new to BRSC with limited past race experience, and Hannah, who completed her first season with BRSC last fall, were excited to test their skills against the scoring boats.  Observations were made about areas for improvement, attitudes were fantastic, and the scrimmagers gained excellent experience.    

After the wet day ended, all sailors stayed for a free BBQ provided by the generous parents of the BRSC.  Special thanks to Todd Carleton for his efforts helping with boat work and coaching in the days prior, as well as helping to run the races.  Also, thanks to Charlie Cochrane for providing burgers, dogs, the fixings, and keeping a steady stream of good food coming off the grill.  Results were announced with the Rockland Conglomerate Team placing first, Islesboro High second, and BRSC third.

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 will not prevent any student from learning to sail.  A huge thank you goes out to all of our sailors, along with sincere congratulations to a young team with not only many first-time racers, but also some first-time sailors.  A second thank you and congratulations is extended to the parents, whose support and enthusiasm is much appreciated.  Third, we cannot thank Chris Liberti enough for his passion for the sport, all of the sailors, regardless of ability level, and the time expended on and off the water to make the team successful. 

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.