Boothbay Area Sailing Club completes season

Have you ever wondered who is sailing dinghies around the harbor on weekday afternoons in March, April and May before most mooring fields start to fill up? These are young sailors from the region who learn to sail and race as part of the Boothbay Region Sailing Club (BRSC). The BRSC attracts sailors not only from the Boothbay Peninsula, but also from Damariscotta, Bristol and even Gardiner and Whitefield.

The BRSC was started over a decade ago to provide sailing team opportunities for area high school students. It has grown over the years and now serves high school and college students, including public, private, and home-schooled students. This year, the spring program included more than twenty sailors participating in more than twenty-five regattas between April and June.

Did you know that high school sailing is one of the only recognized mixed sports in high school? High school sailing is not part of the Maine Principals Association (MPA), but rather the New England Scholastic Sailing Association (NESSA). The Boothbay Region Sailing Club hosts two registered NESSA teams, Boothbay Region High School and Lincoln Academy, as well as a conglomerate team made up of middle and high school sailors from all schools.

The BRSC competes in regattas in the Maine-based Pen-Bay League as well as NESSA regattas across New England, some of which are qualifiers for larger national regattas or championships. Over the years, young local sailors have grown from new sailors to competitive racers, competing in and winning regattas along the New England coast and beyond. For the first time in BRSC history, last fall Lincoln Academy earned a coveted spot at the Atlantic Coast Championships held in Virginia, as well as the National High School Bowling Championships held in Florida.

More than a hundred young sailors have been involved in the program over the years, with recent graduates going on to sea-focused schools such as Maine Maritime Academy or continuing in collegiate races. The BRSC also provided an invaluable opportunity for international exchange students to learn to sail, all of whom came from areas without sailing opportunities. How exciting it must be to come home after a year in Maine with stories of learning to sail in Boothbay Harbor, site of some of the best sailing in the world, and sailing in March, April and May no less!

The BRSC leaves the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club and is active each spring and fall. The club strives to provide an opportunity to learn to sail and race for all who are interested. Sailing is an expensive sport that may be or seem out of reach for many local families. Generous financial aid and equipment are provided so that any local sailor, regardless of income, can sail and compete. The Club is grateful for the continued support of local parents, community members, BHYC members and two local non-profit organizations: the BHYC Junior Program Foundation and the Boothbay Harbor One Design Association. The Sailing Club operates as a community program open to all local students and does not require BHYC membership. Recently, the BRSC started to welcome young sailors in an Opti Based program to make sailing even more accessible out of season.

Soon, Boothbay Region Sailing Club sailors will say goodbye to senior graduates and exchange students leaving our shores, hang up their drysuits for the season, and hand over the helm to sailors and instructors from the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Junior Program — and a new fleet of young sailors will take to the waters of Boothbay Harbor to learn to sail and practice their racing and sailing skills.

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