Senior Sailor Coaches Youth

Maria Carberry


Maddie Mulligan coaching a racing fleet in Florida over the summer.
Maddie Mulligan coaching a racing fleet in Florida over the summer.

While most students were having a relaxing summer, senior Maddie Mulligan was working hard at sailing. Mulligan’s eight week straight sailing trip took up her whole summer. She just sails on the weekends now that the school year has started.  Mulligan devoted almost her whole summer to sailing. “We would be out on the water for 6 to 8 hours a day,” Mulligan said.

“During the summer, I coached a racing fleet of elementary and middle school kids. Fleet racing is when all the boats line up and try to get down to a mark, round it, and then try to get back up top the fastest,” she said.

Along with coaching kids, Mulligan also races in her own boat. “On race weekends, I race by myself. All the same sail boats race each other in the water; they have buoys to tell us where to go (for a race),” Mulligan said.

The length of the races can vary from 10 to 15 minutes long; they can be 20 minutes if there is a lot of wind, making the boats hard to travel.

Mulligan’s parents influenced her to start sailing, “My mom and dad raced for 8 years together,” said Mulligan. Mulligan has been sailing as long as she can remember, but she started to compete 4 years ago.

“I own my own boat called a laser which is the kind of boat I ride by myself. I love to sail my laser because it’s single hand and it is super fast,” Mulligan said.

To say that Mulligan loves to sail would be an understatement. “It takes you to a lot of pretty places. I like being in control of the sails. It is really intense which makes it fun,” said Mulligan.

Mulligan enjoys racing in a boat called a log canoe even though it is tricky to compete in, “The sails push the boat over, and it is hard to balance on it. There are only 15 Log Canoes left in the world and the only place they sail them on is the Chesapeake Bay. The one log canoe I sail was built in 1892 and it takes 8-10 people to sail,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan also races in a boat called a 420. “A 420 is a boat that’s about 15 feet, and it has 2 people in it. One person steers and one person crews and two sail,” she said.

Mulligan’s passion for sailing has been noticed by college coaches, “I am about to turn 18 so junior sailing is pretty much behind me. I am really just looking forward to college sailing and coaching green fleet (the higher level past basic sailing). I want to sail for either UNC Wilmington or St. Mary’s,” Mulligan said. She is excited to follow her sailing dreams in the near future.