Cape Elizabeth High School now has a sailing team.

The town’s school board made it official on Nov. 14 by approving a request for club status for the team, meaning funding comes from private sources.

Kevin Sweeney, a school board member, said the approval allows for a “sailing team that can compete under the school name.”

Michael Siepert will be coaching the spring and fall program consisting of six Cape sailors. They’ll begin competing in the spring.

Cape Elizabeth is only the fifth school in Maine to have a sailing team, the first being Mount Desert Island. Cheverus High School, George Stevens Academy and John Bapst Memorial High School also have sailing teams.

Siepert said Monday he hopes to expand the program in the upcoming years to offer eighth-graders the opportunity to practice with the team.

“I’ve been sailing some kind of boat my whole life,” said sophomore Alex Armstrong, 15. He said he has been racing for the last two years with SailMaine, a nonprofit organization based on Fore Street in Portland that aims to support sailing in the area, and is excited about racing for the school.

“I think it will be a better team atmosphere,” he said, because the students know each other and will work better in unison.

“He’s great and knows a lot about sailing,” said Armstrong of Siepert, whom he worked with at SailMaine.

Senior Spencer Howe, 18, will be able to race for his school in the spring after a lifetime of sailing and eight years of racing. He is excited about the opportunity and about sailing with Siepert. Howe said he hopes to race in college and continue sailing throughout his life.

Siepert, 43, said SailMaine has 36 Collegiate 420s, two-person, 14-foot dingies with two sails, which the Cape team will use in competition.

He said locally Cape will be competing against Cheverus and area students participating with the Southern Maine High School Sailing Team, a conglomerate of schools Cape students previously sailed under. In larger competitions, Cape will compete against the other Maine schools as well as more than 80 schools in the New England district.

Practices will be held Tuesday through Friday and will make use of the SailMaine facilities. Siepert said the program will cost students $300 for each season, discounts being available if students sign up for both fall and spring. The cost covers the use of boats, coaching staff and maintenance at SailMaine.

Siepert has been an assistant coach with SailMaine for about a year and has been sailing for 35 years.

Some students, like freshman Pete Barton, 14, will not be sailing during both seasons because of schedule conflicts. Barton, who grew up sailing, said he will most likely be playing lacrosse in the spring.

Other students participating in the Cape sailing team are sophomores Rob Rice, Evan Siepert and Steven Janick.

Evan Seipert, right, looks to a hazard on his left while racing during the summer of 2006. evan 3 – Evan Siepert, center, racing during the summer of 2006. Siepert is one of six Cape students who will race under the school colors next year.


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