By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,492)
“I’d have liked to have stronger winds,” said NicholasYuill, 12 years old, following the last race of the day on Thursday afternoon on the Eastern Promenade as part of the prestigious 2013 United States Optimist Dinghy Association race. Yuill was part of a ten member team that traveled from Nova Scotia to participate in this Regatta for elite racers. The event was hosted by SailMaine, 58 Fore Street at the bottom of Munjoy Hill. During the four day Regatta, except for the first day devoted to practice, the winds ever exceeded 8 or 9 knots. That was frustrating for some of the older and heavier racers. Smaller and younger racers, however, did not object to the light to moderate winds.
Yuill, who has been sailing since he was 6 years old, has been coached by Manu Bologna, 26, since June of this year. The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron hired Bologna to teach the 10 team members. Bologna, who is from Argentina, said he has been “developing the teams’ racing skills.” Bologana is well-qualified to do just that. Having been on the racing circuit in Argentina, Australia, China, South Africa, Belguim and elsewhere. He has also been through the Opti junior sailing program. “This was a big experience for the entire Nova Scotia team to be in,” said coach Bologna. “They are not used to having such a large field of competition.” “I’m passionate about saiing and I want my son to have the same experience,” said dad Terry Yuill. “After all this is where Joshua Solcum came from.”
“The water was freezing,” said Charlie Downey, 12, who capsized in his Opti, but quickly righted it and finished the race. Other than that, he said: “Conditions were good. It was a perfect set-up, the train was fun to see. His younger brother, Ryan, 10, said the Regatta was “very well run by SailMaine.”
“We have to recognize our maritime heritage here in Portland. Having a regatta is part of our tradition and we should do what we can to perpetuate that. I hope the city of Portland recognizes the benefits of this type of activity,” said Alicia Mooradian, SailMaine program director. “It is possible that SailMaine might host this Regatta again in several years. If we had messed up that could not have happened.”
editor’s note: The top photo is of the Optis landing on East End Beach on Thursday afternoon, the last day of the races. The next photo is of the Nova Scotia team.