School sports

RCS high school program celebrates successful season, new status

Camden Hills, Oceanside enjoy club recognition, fall fun on water
By Ken Waltz | Dec 07, 2012
Courtesy of: Michael O'Neil Rockland Community Sailing high school athletes working downwind under dazzling sunlight.

Rockland — With cold temperatures and icy, snowy conditions either here or on the way as old man winter settles in for the next few months, it is time to reflect on images of wind-filled sails as young Midcoast athletes experienced success on the water during competitive fall regattas.

The Midcoast high school sailing program realized tremendous success in the fall, thanks to the support of area schools and the ongoing program at Rockland Community Sailing at the Apprenticeshop.

Camden Hills had club status for the recent season and Oceanside had tentative approval for club status.

Camden Hills Regional High School gained approval for its club team late in the summer and Oceanside High School received initial approval for club status in the fall with the hope for Regional School Unit 13 Board confirmation in December. That came Thursday, Dec. 6 after a presentation to the RSU 13 Board by sailor Brian Haskell.

And with that, area sailors were plenty busy with eight regattas in the fall, including three in one weekend.

High school sailing team racers at RCS celebrated another strong fall season and a long anticipated new recognition. After racing for nearly a decade, local high school sailing officially has achieved “club sport” status, said Kevin "KC" Heyniger, waterfront programs director at RCS.

“It’s a very significant step for Midcoast high school sailing and another great sport for our schools to offer,” said Heyniger of the new club statuses for the two local schools. "Parents and students-athletes have been grateful for Camden Regional High School athletic director Steve Alex and Oceanside High School athletic director Jim Leonard in their encouragement and assistance in school team-forming processes."

Since 2003, high school sailors have been racing as one team through RCS during the spring and fall seasons. The combined team always has included students from all local high schools, homeschoolers and interested seventh- and eighth-graders. It was not unusual to have 20 to 30 students on the roster. Everyone practices together at RCS, which is solid training for high school races often involving 10 to 20 boats competing at once, Heyniger said.

However, until now, the combined RCS team would only get one boat at an event. Midcoast racers would rotate using that boat between races. Now, with club sport status at the schools, RCS, Camden Hills and Oceanside, each get their own boats.

“This is the first year we’ve attended an event and had multiple boats and teams racing," Heyniger said. "It’s great to see the sailors getting so much more racing experience on the water and watch them improve so much quicker."

All teams still practice together at the RCS/Apprenticeshop waterfront and pier, but at regattas sailors represent their own school, "which is an honor and privilege," said Heyniger.

RCS high school coach Pat DiLalla welcomed this important club status step. He noted another key benefit was strong on-the-water and organizational support from CHRHS teacher/sailing advisor Bob White and Oceanside High School teacher/sailing advisor Ken Pride.

“With two additional experienced sailors/teachers assisting me at every practice the efficiency, quality, safety and fun have all increased dramatically,” said DiLalla. “And this improvement shows in the fall season results — our finishes have definitely moved from the back third of the fleet up to the middle or better. Some races our sailors were even leading the pack, and I know more of this is coming in our future."

RCS high school fall sailing program team members, with their grade and school listed, were: Nick Bennett, junior, CHRHS; Josef Berger, eighth grade, Oceanside West; Thatcher Chamberlain, sophomore, CHRHS; Hannah Chase, eighth grade, homeschooled; Isabel Crane, sophomore, Watershed School; Louisa Crane, sophomore, Watershed; Jesse Dunn, freshman, Watershed; Raine Ellison, sophomore, CHRHS; Zac Folk, sophomore, homeschooled; Jillian Galloway, eighth grade, homeschooled; Peter Galloway, eighth grade, homeschooled; Warren Galloway, eighth grade, homeschooled; Parris Garver, eighth grade, Oceanside West; Aidan Gordon, junior, CHRHS; Grace Harrison, junior, CHRHS; Audrey Lane, freshman, CHRHS; Elise Laslavic, eighth grade, Oceanside West; Elena Laustsen, sophomore, Oceanside East; Randy Mercer, freshman, CHRHS; Joshua Morehouse, eighth grade, Rockland District Middle School; Martha Moskowitz, sophomore, CHRHS; Marley O'Neil, eighth grade, Lincolnville Central School; Anna Parraluppi, junior, CHRHS; Tristan See, junior, CHRHS; Elliott Spear, eighth grade, Riley School; and Max Yankura, sophomore, Oceanside East. The Galloways are triplets.

The team competed in six fall regattas, showing steady improvement throughout the season. The following are the events, dates, number of teams racing, level and RCS, Oceanside and/or Camden Hills team finishes:

Sept. 15 — Polar Bear Open, Bowdoin College, 14 teams, varsity. Overall: Camden Hills, 13; RCS, 14. A Division: Camden Hills, 11; RCS, 14. B Division: Camden Hills, 14; RCS, 13.

Sept. 23 — Start Your Engines, SailMaine, Portland, 13 teams, JV. Overall: Camden Hills, 12; RCS, 13. A Division: Camden Hills, 11; RCS, 13. B Division: Camden Hills, 12; RCS, 13.

Sept. 29 — Show Up and Sail, Rockland Community Sailing, nine teams, including five RCS and four visiting teams, JV. Overall: RCS1, first; RCS4, fifth; RCS5, sixth; RCS3, seventh; and RCS2, eighth.

Oct. 13 — Yachtsmen, SailMaine, Portland, 14 teams, JV. Overall: Camden Hills, seventh; RCS1, ninth; and RCS2, 11th.

Oct. 14 — Becton Cup Women’s Invite Championship, Maine Maritime Academy, Castine, eight teams, varsity. Overall: RCS, fifth; and Camden Hills, eighth.

Oct. 14 — Southern Maine Sail Fest, SailMaine, Portland, 14 teams, varsity. Overall: Camden Hills, eighth; RCS, 11th. A Division: Camden Hills, sixth; RCS, 11th. B Division: Camden Hills, ninth; and RCS, 12th.

RCS staff, high school sailing parents and volunteers hosted the Sept. 29 “Show Up and Sail” race in Rockland. "Through everyone’s efforts this event upgraded from a scrimmage in 2011 to a regatta with computer scoring and results, an official protest committee, and an excellently run event involving 39 sailors from five visiting teams and nine RCS teams completing eight races throughout the day," Heyniger said.

Heyniger said the RCS team thanks its supporters, including Lyman Morse for repairing rudder blades; Pope Sails + Rigging for consistent rig and sail repair and maintenance; and the Apprenticeshop staff and apprentices for moving boats, launching floats, and ongoing administrative and financial support.

Many parents and volunteers helped run the team, but a few took on roles deserving mention, Heyniger said, including: High school team parent coordinator Erica Crane; practice volunteer coordinator Bill Garver; carpool coordinator Jane Bennett; NAVY scoring system managers Parker Chamberlin, Kirk Folk, Fred Boursier, Bill Garver; and Show Up and Sail race committee chairman David Jones and the Rockland Yacht Club.

Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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