Boothbay sailors reign in Portland

Posted:  Monday, October 22, 2018 - 3:15pm

Boothbay sailors won the Greely High School Ranger Rally Regatta in Portland Oct. 20. Fourteen teams from Maine and Vermont faced winds gusting to 22 knots in the year’s final varsity regatta at Sailmaine Community Sailing Center. The top A and B Squads from Falmouth and Portland were in attendance after competing previously in the Lawrence White Invitational Regatta at the USCG Academy. Lacking an invitation to that premier fall event, the Boothbay team was ready to prove they are the best in Maine despite their youth and small team size.

Cloudy skies and temperatures in the fifties saw sailors choose bulky drysuits over preferred spray gear. Boothbay sailors Toby Clarkson and Alton Coolidge chose dry suits while Ella Beauregard and Hamilton Barclay chose spray gear. Beauregard and Barclay had not capsized during the entire year and were first off the dock. The challenging conditions were enhanced by a wind shadow from a large cruise ship on the left edge of the course which contributed to three capsizes before racing commenced. Race committee set a Harry Anderson course resembling a “4” with a windward leg, a broad reach, tight reach, run, and final windward leg.

Boothbay’s Beauregard and Barclay got off the start line in heavy traffic, tacked and crossed the fleet towards the shore, flat water, and a lift. As they approached the weather mark to leeward of lead Greely’s A Boat a powerful downdraft foiled their tack and capsized the boat to weather in the 3-boat length zone. Barclay got on the centerboard as the boat rolled executing a “dry-capsize” while Beauregard got back aboard quickly. It took just 20 seconds to right the capsize while 7 boats whistled by. Not quitting, the Boothbay sailors picked off three boats to finish 5th. Beauregard and Barclay won the second race and switched to dry suits during the break. Beauregard and Barclay then began a series of unremarkable starts including two OCS and two closeouts at the signal boat in five starts with remarkable finishes of 1, 2, 2, 4, 1. With each finish the pair kept the Boothbay team within striking distance of leaders Portland, Greely, then Falmouth which have much bigger programs.

Boothbay’s B Division sailors Toby Clarkson and Alton Coolidge won their first race, followed by an 8th, 7th, and an 11th. The pair suffered from crowded starts which were compounded by sailing in bad air from competitors. Clarkson proved his tactical skills keeping the pair out of trouble with close crossings. However, several uncalled fouls in the boisterous conditions worsened their finishes. In the fifth race skipper Coolidge found clear air in the center right below the starboard tack lay line wedge of boats and rounded the weather mark in 3rd. This was followed by an OCS start with good recovery to finish 7th.

Going into the last set of races Falmouth led with 50 points, Greely had 52, Boothbay trailed with 53 points. Boothbay sailors won their starts and three races with Greely dropping back. In the final race Falmouth held a 1-point lead over Boothbay. Coolidge got above and slightly ahead of Falmouth’s ace B skipper, Catherine Morrisette, tacking on top when Falmouth tacked to shore. Boothbay in second led Falmouth by two boats at the weather mark. Boothbay then chased leader Yarmouth to finish just a few inches behind Yarmouth. Falmouth’s outhaul let loose during a jibe leaving Boothbay with an 11-point win.

Beauregard and Barclay finished (5, 1, 2, 2, 4, 1, 1, 1) with 17 points winning their division by 11 points over Greely. Clarkson and Coolidge finished (1, 8, 7, 11, 3, 7, 1, 2) with 40 points taking a close third place in B Division behind Falmouth and Cheverus.

Boothbay sailors compete next at the Halloween Howl C420 regatta in Newport. The BRHS sailing team is supported by the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club and the BHYC Junior Program Foundation.