For Tucker Grout, there’s a significant difference between sailing and some of the team sports he participates in during the school year.

An avid soccer and lacrosse player, Grout took up competitive sailing two years ago and came to a realization about the discipline.

In sailing, Grout explained, there is always a teammate there to back you up. He remembers watching a boat capsize in New Hampshire, and then seeing a teammate come to the rescue of the stranded sailor.

“There are so many moving parts that can go wrong,” Grout said. “If something goes wrong, you can always ask a teammate to help you and there will always be help. It’s not an actual team that races, but there’s a team spirit in everybody doing well.”

Grout, a 12-year-old from Yarmouth, is one of more than 200 school-aged sailors from across northern New England who will participate today and Wednesday in the Junior Olympics Sailing Festival Northeast Youth Championship, which will be held in Casco Bay.

Boats will launch from East End Beach in Portland. The regatta include races for Green Fleet Optimists, Optimists, Lasers, Laser Radials and 420s.

“Every three years we host this,” said Sarah Helming, the program director for SailMaine, a Portland-based organization. “We were asked to host this because Casco Bay is a great place for young kids to sail.

“It’s a festival for all the Maine sailing clubs and the teams from Northern New England.”

Helming has organized more than 100 volunteers, including some for a first-aid station and boat owners who will be on the water to monitor courses and provide food and water for participants.

Racing begins with a harbor start at 10:30 a.m. today, followed by the first gun at noon. Wednesday’s harbor start is at 9:30 and the first gun is at 11.

Helming explained that each course is a mile to two miles long and takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

“There’s a lot of different strategies involved,” Helming said. “You look up the course to see where the wind is and what other elements might affect it.”

Grout, a Yarmouth resident who sails with the Freeport-based Harraseeket Yacht Club, will team with Josef Biberstein in the 420 green classification, a 14-foot boat navigated by two people.

“I’ve only sailed competitively for the past two years,” Grout said. “We’re in kind of a heavy boat, compared to other kids, and I’m hoping for a day with five-, six- or seven-mile-an-hour winds. That’s not bad.”

The idea of competing against sailors from other regions appeals to Emma Holton, a Portland resident in the Optimist Red White and Blue classification.

“That’s the best part,” Holton said. “It sounds really cool, to be in a small racing and sailing area where I go every year, and to have people from all over come here. That’s really cool.”


Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]