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ROCKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In clusters along our coast, little boats do battle almost every afternoon. In Rockland Harbor, they're sailing 420's, which are dingies designed to plain easily. Built of fiberglass, they have internal buoyancy tanks and are just right for young sailors. These are rigged for two person crews who must learn the sport and teamwork in order to perform well.
K. C. Heninger directs waterfront programs for Rockland Community Sailing which includes high school sailing.

"These sailors help us rig the boat the first week and launch them so they are not just learning the sailing skills, they are also learning hands-on practical skills. Heyniger told NEWS CENTER.

In Rockland, club programs from Camden, Oceanside and a conglomerate from other area high schools get together twice a week and head to regattas on weekends.

:We raced anywhere from eight to 12 regattas a season," Heyniger said. "There's races down in Portland, there's races at Maine Maritime Academy and also races here now we started races here."

While individual teams ebb and flow, participation is up and while the sport is highly competitive, the competitors get along better than in many team sports.
"Last week, I was going on the down wind leg and there was this boat right next to me and we were chatting about how nice the weather was," said Abby Chamberlin. "It's always fun."

Along the course, students are honing their skills with the training and racing making them better sailors.

"Sail racing is just learning how to control your boat better," said Peter Galloway. "You learn so much more about how the boat works. You learn how to look at the wind. It kind of pushes you to learn all about that stuff."

And there are great reasons to learn to sail in Maine.

"it's so different from other sports. You are really out in the elements," said Chamberlin. "We live in Maine, so why not take advantage of the beautiful ocean?"

Which is what Maine high school kids are doing in ever increasing numbers all along the coast.

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