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Apprenticeshop event

Female sailors take helm at Jean Becton Cup Regatta

Lincoln Academy duo rules waters, Islesboro, Rockland teams also strong
By Staff | Oct 15, 2019
Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern Scene from the Jean Becton Cup Regatta on Oct. 12 in Rockland Harbor.

Rockland — The wind and gray proved perfect conditions as The Apprenticeshop hosted the Becton Cup Regatta — an event for high school-aged female sailors — on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Named in honor of Jean Becton, winner of the 1936 and 1946 Maine State Sailing Championship, this fall's regatta tested the mettle of young women sailors from around the state.

This year’s Maine Girls Doublehanded Championship included nine teams — five that traveled from their home waters of Sail Maine in Portland, which included high school teams from Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth and two teams from Portland and Greely of Cumberland.

The other four teams were from the Midcoast, which included from Islesboro (two teams), Rockland (Apprenticeshop) and Lincoln Academy of Newcastle.

The event had not been held for the last two years, so there was pent-up demand from the sailors, many of whom had their eyes on the trophy since a young age, said Molly Mulhern of The Apprenticeshop.

This year’s racing did not disappoint. The race committee consisted of head coach Pat DiLalla and longtime high school sailing volunteers Peter Clapp and Ken Pride, who expertly managed eight races to create a full-day regatta, Mulhern said.

Mother Nature provided a range of conditions, which started from a strong morning breeze at 10-15 knots, with occasional higher gusts, to the more moderate afternoon wind of 8-10 knots. The north-to-northeast wind direction allowed the racing to take place in the northeast corner of Rockland Harbor, out of traffic and wave action.

At the prerace briefing, as Clapp explained the more challenging types of courses the sailors would face, he reminded the girls: “You are the best in the state.”

The strong morning conditions allowed for longer courses, many of them triangular, which provided the chance for the teams to challenge one another on many points of sail — upwind (windward), downwind and reaching — which is not often the case in regattas, said Mulhern.

Teams do not have to travel with their boats in this kind of racing. Instead The Apprenticeshop — the host team — made its fleet of 420s available for the teams, with two sailors per boat. Boats are swapped after two races, and while a bit of a logistical nightmare — it is done via a moored boat near the race course — this boat change ensures that no team has an advantage due to gear. By the end of the day, each team of sailors had competed in four different boats, Mulhern said.

Rockland was new racing territory for at least a third of the fleet. The morning racing results strongly favored the local racers, as Islesboro and Rockland teams performed well, Mulhern said.

Morning race starts were tightly competitive, and the Rockland team faced a special challenge when its hiking strap broke just after the start of race one. This intrepid team of Ella Ryan and Nicole Pendleton, said Mulhern, held their own, as the pair placed third. The race was won by the skilled Islesboro No. 2 team of Sophie Lau and Pia Gibson. The Lincoln Academy team of Ella Beauregard and Arden Carleton finished second.

Three more races were held over the course of the morning, as the No. 2 Portland team of Ella Duncan and Hazel Johnson sailed a terrific second race capped by a second-place finish. The third race of the day also showed the talents of Rylee Sienkiewicz and Olivia Britton, Islesboro's No. 1 team, as they took first. Rockland sailors Ella Ryan and Nicole Pendleton blazed past the rest of the fleet and took first in race four, the final morning race.

Warmed up and revitalized by lunch, the afternoon racing seemed like a entirely new event, with teams that had been mediocre in morning racing rising to the top, Mulhern said.

The veteran sailors, Ella Beauregard and Arden Carleton of Lincoln Academy, won the first two races of the afternoon. The wind had dropped a fair bit, so the races were slightly shorter in the afternoon. By the seventh race many of the teams were flagging, but the No. 1 Portland team of Neddie Clews and Valyn Mogensen stole the finish line to get their first win of the day.

By the eighth race, many teams just wanted to be done — which included home course sailors Ella Ryan and Nicole Pendleton, whose afternoon racing had not gone as well as the morning, Mulhern said.

Ryan's and Pendleton's smart tactics and perseverance brought them a second place in race eight, a reminder for all never to give up, Mulhern said.

Lincoln Academy maintained its stellar sailing, as the race course full of nine boats showed incredible resilience, sportsmanship and seamanship, Mulhern said.

In fact, the boats that were new to the area, and new to team racing, such as sailors Danika Hluska and Meg Woolverton of Greely, gave the day their best, as did Daisy Brewer and Sabina Coroi of Yarmouth and Kyla Christie and Tess Straw of Cape Elizabeth, Mulhern said.

"Jean Becton would have been proud of all these young women out in the wind, water, and waves, in pursuit of smart and strong sailing," Mulhern said.

When the full day’s scores were tallied, Lincoln Academy had won the top spot and the right to take home the Jean Becton Cup. Second went to Islesboro's No. 2 team of Sophie Lau and Pia Gibson, and third to Islesboro's No. 1 team of Rylee Sienkiewicz and Olivia Britton.

Islesboro is coached by Mike Horn, whose team, like many of the others, includes juniors and other non-seniors, so we expect to see many of these young women on the water again next fall hoping to bring home the Becton trophy for the top Maine female sailors, said Mulhern.

The Apprenticeshop is a non-profit whose mission is to provide a community space for teaching sailing, boatbuilding and seamaship: hands-on experiences that enhance individual lives.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at or by phone at 594-4401.

Lincoln Academy sailors Ella Beauregard, left, and Arden Carleton, winners of the 2019 Jean Becton Cup. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
Lincoln Academy sailors Arden Carleton, left, and Ella Beauregard look over the Jean Becton trophy with Apprenticeshop head coach Pat DiLalla. (Courtesy of: Pam Pearce)
Sailors for the 2019 Jean Becton Cup shown postrace at The Apprenticeshop. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
Scene from the regatta. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
Scene from the regatta. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
Scene from the regatta. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
Scene from the regatta. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
Scene from the regatta. (Courtesy of: Molly Mulhern)
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