Rockland Sailing Program raises profile of high school across region


ROCKLAND — Thirteen high school sailing teams from Maine and Vermont joined Rockland Community Sailing Program sailors Sept. 29 to compete in a beautiful regatta on Rockland Harbor. Rockland’s new fleet of 420s sparkled under bright sun and blue skies as 50 youth sailors made the most of a fall day under cracking good weather, according to Coach Patrick DiLalla. 

Staff, parents and community volunteers rounded out the event. Spectator floats were towed out into the harbor by volunteers Tony Fitch and Tori Willauer. Sailing is rather new as a high school sport in Maine, and requires some explanations for the first time spectator.  The sailors were also able to teach a few things to their parents.

A volunteer race committee headed by Peter Clapp ran 10 races.

The RCS team of Jillian Galloway (Watershed, ninth-grade), Josef Berger (Oceanside, ninth-grade), Mazlin Higbee (Oceanside, 11th-grade) and Warren Galloway (Watershed, ninth-grade), came away with first place overall.  They did so by sailing consistently fast in the first six races, and then turning it on in the final four races to seal the victory.  The two pairs (A and B) finished 2,1, 2, 2 in that final set for a low total of 7 points. 

Second place went to Burlington’s Northern Vermont team, which sailed fast, as well, and were in a tie for first place after six races.  The Vermont team was presented a special “Going The Distance” trophy, hand-crafted by RCS Program Director K.C. Heyniger, as recognition for their 10 hours of travel time to Rockland.

“I was particularly pleased to see our varsity sailors present in a supporting role for the younger or less experienced sailors,” said coach DiLalla.

Varsity skippers Jesse Dunn (Watershed) and Aidan Gordon (senior, Camden Hills Regional High School) crewed for eighth-grader Robbie Carroll (Riley) and Henry Laurita (senior, Camden Hills Regional High School), helping guide them through the hectic starts and long upwind legs that are particularly challenging for new skippers.  Other varsity sailors created opportunities for their teammates to participate, or cheered them on from the floats in between working on homework assignments.

“We have a great group of dedicated sailors in our high school program at RCS, and I'm excited to see where sailing may take them in the future; beyond the trophies, which are sure to come, as well.” said DiLalla.

The high school program of Rockland Community Sailing currently hosts two junior varsity and varsity level travel teams (28 sailors). They include the Camden Hills Regional High School club status team and the RCS home team that consists of sailors from Watershed, Oceanside, Riley, home-schoolers and local middle schools.  

High School Sailing is an eight-week program, running in both the spring and fall. It is open to students from seventh- through 12th-grades.  No experience is necessary and scholarships are available. For more information, visit or call K.C. Heyniger at 594-1800.