Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 22, 2014
Light wind handicaps Eagles in Downeast Regatta
Stormy weather postpones first day
At right, skipper Nicolas Steenberg and crew Cedar Slagle, of the George Stevens Academy sailing team, maneuver their boat towards its second mark in the Downeast Regatta on May 18, 2014 in Castine, Maine.
by Anne Berleant
Stormy weather on Saturday, May 17, followed by light winds on Sunday made for up-and-down sailing at the 16th Downeast Invitational Regatta.
Hosted by George Stevens Academy at the Maine Maritime Academy waterfront, the annual two-day sailing event drew 19 teams from Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont to Castine.
“It was a typical Downeast Regatta in Smith Cove,” said Nicolas Steenberg, who took over as skipper on the Eagles’ “A” boat on Sunday after Gordon Lameyer injured his hand in a Saturday capsize. “[A] light, shifting land breeze.”
The day before was a different story.
“Saturday it blew like crazy, and it was pouring,” said Eagles coach Tom Gutow.
A heavy wind of 20-22 knots, spiked with gusts up “close to 30 knots,” caused a half dozen boats to capsize during the second race, postponing racing to the next day.
The light wind on Sunday did not favor the Eagles, Gutow said. “It was a little bit frustrating…we do better in heavy air.”
“I sail better in heavy wind,” agreed Cedar Slagle, crew on the “A” boat, after one Sunday race.
The Eagles’ “A” boat placed 14th and its “B” boat, skippered by freshman Yvonne Rogers with Clover Slagle as crew, placed 18th.
First-place Yarmouth was named Downeast Champion and was awarded the Modisette trophy for the second year running. They also were named Maine School Sailing Association champion for the year.
The Modisette trophy, dedicated to Jim Modisette of California and Penobscot, who started the event in 2000, is a perpetual trophy that is awarded to the top Maine winner for the year and then returned the following year.
Marblehead and Belmont Hill placed second and third, respectively, followed by Falmouth in fourth place. Mount Desert Island placed seventh.
“The light wind handicapped us,” Gutow concluded. “It was a tough weekend.”