SailMaine supporters shook off the winter chills with a Caribbean-themed fundraising party at Space Gallery with donors bidding $8,000 toward the scholarship fund, not even including the silent and live auction items.

“Every dollar raised goes to our scholarship fund,” said Program Director Charlotte Kinkade. “It opens up a traditionally affluent sport. We’ve never turned a sailor away due to financial need.”

The fund supports youth sailing, high school competitors, and community outreach programs. For the past 15 summers, Special Olympics sailors have been out on the water every Tuesday night.

“One sailor has been with us all 15 years,” said Executive Director Katie Hatch. “And he’s never missed a Tuesday.”

That sailor – David Meserve from Saco – was honored Thursday night and presented with a shirt with SailMaine’s 20th anniversary logo.

“This event is trying to get people thinking about spring and summer sailing,” said Chris Moore, chair of the event committee. “It’s a way to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a long winter in Maine, but sailing isn’t that far off.”

“It’s a good time of year for a fundraiser,” said competitive sailor Carter White of Portland. “There’s not much to do with sailing unless you do what I do and go south.”

“I’ve been sailing all my life, as do my children and grandchildren,” said host committee member Kim Latour. “SailMaine is a great organization. It’s an open opportunity to everyone to get involved.”

Last year, 3,500 people sailed with SailMaine, including 411 junior sailors, 158 high school sailors, and two teams that made it to national championships.

“SailMaine is getting people on the water,” said Zack Roland, who has worked there for five summers. “It’s always growing and expanding the number of sailors we have in Portland and the surrounding towns.”

“Where we live, there’s no reason not to sail,” said Kelly Stucker of Falmouth. She plans to take beginning sailing lessons with SailMaine this summer.

Maggie Robinson laughed when asked why she supports SailMaine. Her husband, Chris Robinson, founded the organization, and her twin teens are both nationally ranked sailors. Incredibly, both placed ninth in the nation – her son sailing individually and her daughter as part of a team. And it all started with SailMaine.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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