November 11, 2012

Scene & Heard: All hands on deck

Supporters turn out for the SailMaine Soiree, which raises money to make it more affordable to teach kids to learn to sail.


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Christina Cumming, who helped Merriconeag High School in New Gloucester start a sailing team through SailMaine; her husband Jeff Cumming, executive director of SailMaine; and Peter Clough, who promotes fundraising for SailMaine at the recent fifth annual SailMaine Soiree.

Amy Paradysz photos

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Left: SailMaine adult instructor Tim Jones; Charlie Fox, owner of The Boathouse in Falmouth and head coach of the Falmouth High School sailing team; and Kristina Grimaldi of Falmouth.

Additional Photos Below

SEND PARTY INVITES at least two weeks in advance to Avery Yale Kamila, Maine Sunday Telegram, One City Center, Portland, ME 04101 or

Now 16, Elizabeth is on the Southern Maine high school sailing team and spent the summer as a camp counselor and sailing instructor.

Tim Jones started sailing at age 20 at University of Massachusetts-Boston, where he was an environmental science major. "It was a good fit," he said. "Sailing is really organic. It's a great way to get around. It's free power."

In fact, Jones has worked as an instructor at SailMaine for six years and has never owned a sailboat.

Many of his students are older adults and complete beginners. The level of athleticism required depends on several factors.

"It varies, depending on what type of boat you're in and what the winds are like," Jones said. "It can be like watching the grass grow, or it can be quite exhilarating."

"We're a sailing family," said Ann Blanchard, who does public relations outreach and photography for SailMaine. She has been sailing with her husband, Tony Blanchard, for 30 years, and their 15-year-old son Nico Blanchard does the 420 summer sailing program with friends from Scarborough. The Blanchards typically spent two weeks on their boat as their family vacation – stopping to go offshore to explore beaches or islands or to go to the movies.

"Being on a boat really gives kids real-life skills such as being in close quarters and having to be respectful, navigating deep waters, and making adjustments to changing conditions," Ann Blanchard said. "Everyone has responsibilities and a role in decision-making. We have to pull together to work as a team."

Russ and Sarah Cox both learned to sail in Freeport as children around the same time -- though that was long before they met, married, and had three children.

"We put them on boats as early as they're willing to go," Russ Cox said. "If we're going to live in Maine, we want our kids to be comfortable on the water."

SailMaine is based out of the Casco Bay Community Boating Center at 58 Fore St., Portland. More information is available at


Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer from Scarborough who wants to try sailing. She can be contacted at:


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Additional Photos

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Sophie Salomon, captain of the Portland High School sailing team; Ben Davis from True Course Yachting; and Michael McAllister of Portland.

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SailMaine volunteers Evan Sipert of Cape Elizabeth and Mitt Calder of South Portland; sailor Michael Candore of Washington, D.C.; and Charlotte Boymer, who was assistant director of the junior sailing program last summer. She also coaches the Falmouth High School sailing team.

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SailMaine Soiree organizing committee member Carlisle McLean with Portland residents Michelle Cianchette and Erin Ovalle.

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Portland residents Derek Lombard and Mali Welch, who works at Maine Magazine, the premier sponsor of the SailMaine Soiree.

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Eight-year-old Matthew Gilbert (foreground), who won the John Ford Regatta for new sailors in August, with his grandmother Jan Robinson of Boston and mother Lisa Gilbert of Cumberland. Matthew followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Joseph Gilbert, who was the winner in 2011.

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Nathaniel Baldwin and Erin Kiley, owners of the Portland Flea-for-All, donated a watch for the silent auction.

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Lifelong sailors Sarah and Russ Cox of Portland, and Cordelia Pintman, whose husband, Winslow Ferber, is director of development for SailMaine.


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