As Midcoast harbors prepare for the possible visit of Hurricane Irene, summer sailing programs come to a close and the serious job of educating merchant mariners begins for another season.

St. George program completes decade of sailing

ST.GEORGE — Seventy-four young sailors, ages 9 to 15, advanced their sailing and seamanship skills this summer in Tenants Harbor, celebrating the conclusion of the first decade of the St. George Community Sailing Foundation.

Operating for a third year from Blueberry Cove Camp, a part of the Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center based in Lincolnville and the University of Maine Extension System, the foundation again offered six weeks of instruction, from July 11 through Aug. 19, split into three two-week sessions.

Beginning and younger sailors worked the waters of Tenants Harbor from 9 a.m. to noon while the older and more advanced juniors fine-tuned their racing skills and learned more about seamanship and navigation from 1 to 4 p.m.  The instruction team was headed by Blair Southworth, of Andover, N.H., a sophomore at Connecticut College, and assisted by Briggs Hupper of Concord, Mass., Henry Birdsey of Ripton, Vt., and Cam Ruffle-Deignan of Winchester, Mass., all graduates of the program.

The juniors sailed and raced in the foundation’s 12 Hunter 90 cat-rigged dinghies, four 420 sloops, and three larger sloops. The afternoon group also raced in the annual Red Jacket Regatta, sponsored by Rockland’s Apprenticeshop and Community Sailing.

For information and enrollment for the 2012 sailing program, in cooperation with Blueberry Cove Camp, contact Felix Kloman at St. George Community Sailing Foundation, P.O. Box 435, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860. Interested parties may also call 372-8008 or write to stgeorgesail@aol.com, or go to the website at stgeorgesail.org.

Study reviews interactions between striped bass and lobster

PORTLAND — Graduate student Erin Wilkinson is collaborating with local anglers to study interactions between striped bass and lobsters off the coast of southern Maine. Wilkinson is working on a master’s degree at the University of New England and Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

There is little data about the striped bass diet in this region, but lobsters are often an important prey for the species. Members of the Casco Bay Anglers Club, The Tackle Shop in Portland, and participants in local fishing tournaments have been providing striped bass stomach samples to support Wilkinson’s research on the importance of lobster to their diet.

Wilkinson will conduct a lobster tether experiment on the water to determine whether striped bass are consuming only specific sizes of lobster. She is also planning a laboratory study to examine the effect of striped bass on lobster behavior.

Interested parties can contact Wilkinson at ewilkinson@une.edu.

Educators monitor ocean’s vital signs

PORTLAND — This summer, 36 educators worked at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to practice ways to provide authentic and personally meaningful science learning experiences. They worked in the lab, in the field, and online using GMRI’s Vital Signs platform and other online curriculum resources.

Gulf of Maine Research Institute has hired Ellen Grant as its first chief operating officer. Grant’s role is an integral part of the next phase of the organization’s strategic plan, a press release said.

Maine Maritime Academy welcomes students, announces convocation

CASTINE — Maine Maritime Academy President William J. Brennan announced that the college will host its second annual all-campus convocation immediately following the start of the college’s 70th academic year.

The ceremony was introduced last year with the intent of establishing a new tradition at the college to welcome all new students, as well as returning upperclassmen, in a formal ceremony that marks the beginning of the college experience with the same level of optimism, enthusiasm, and celebration as commencement exercises. The convocation is scheduled to be held Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 10:10 a.m. in the Alexander Fieldhouse. Members of the Castine community are invited and encouraged to attend the ceremony.

Academy faculty, staff, and students have been welcoming new students in the class of 2015 to campus for a series of annual orientation sessions. According to Jeff Loustaunau, vice president for enrollment management, 310 students are expected to participate in the program.

Maine Maritime Academy’s Student Sponsor Program is seeking community volunteers to serve as host families for students new to the college this year. Initiated more than 10 years ago, the program is designed to pair new students with faculty, staff, and community hosts. The program provides new students with an opportunity to meet members of the MMA and Castine communities in an effort to ease the often-stressful transition to college life. In turn, members of the community gain an insider’s view of student life and activities at the college, and develop personal relationships with students.

Anyone interested in becoming a host family must fill out an application and return it to the college’s Office of the Commandant of Midshipmen. Applications are available by contacting 326-2250. Potential sponsors may request a student by name or based on preference of gender, home state, religious background, sports affiliation, or special interests. Potential sponsors are authorized to sponsor up to four students a year, with program organizers suggesting that families sponsor at least two students at a time.

MMA’s Department of Residential Life will sponsor a community involvement fair on campus this fall in an effort to encourage student volunteerism in the community. The fourth annual Student Involvement Fair will be held on campus in early September to encourage interaction between students attending the college and community organizations seeking volunteers and members. This year’s fair will be held outside and will be accompanied by a live concert with the local steel drum band Flash in the Pans.

Groups wishing to participate in the Student Involvement Fair may do so free of charge and are asked to contact Michael Sales to sign up at 326-2117 or via email at michael.sales@mma.edu.

According to the website wordorigins.org, “Scuttlebutt is an early 19th century nautical term for an open cask of water kept on deck for use by the crew. The term comes from scuttle — to cut a hole in — and butt — a large cask. Sailors would gather about the cask and trade stories and gossip, much like modern office workers do at the water cooler or coffee pot. By the turn of the 20th century, American sailors began using the term scuttlebutt to refer to these sea stories and gossip. Eventually the term became associated with any gossip or rumor.”

Send scuttlebutt to Herald Gazette reporter Shlomit Auciello at sauciello@villagesoup.com or call 207-236-8511.