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Charlottetown sailors making a splash

Sisters Makena, left, and Macy Cudmore (pillowed by family dog Levi) are part of P.E.I.’s resurgent sailing scene. The pair teamed to run a 29er racing skiff in various meets this past summer including being the first sailers from P.E.I. almost a decade to compete at the 29er North Americans regatta in Kingston, Ont. Macy, 15, is the skipper, while Makena, 17, is the forward.
Sisters Makena, left, and Macy Cudmore (pillowed by family dog Levi) are part of P.E.I.’s resurgent sailing scene. The pair teamed to run a 29er racing skiff in various meets this past summer including being the first sailers from P.E.I. almost a decade to compete at the 29er North Americans regatta in Kingston, Ont. Macy, 15, is the skipper, while Makena, 17, is the forward. - Charles Reid

Sisters Makena and Macy Cudmore helping to return P.E.I. to the competitive sailing world

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Macy and Makena Cudmore won’t play the blame game anymore. The sister sailing team learned at least that much during last year’s season.

“It doesn’t help much,” Makena said.

Macy agreed.

“If we messed up, we did it as a team. It’s not our individual faults,” Macy said. “You have to take a moment to calm down and learn to fix what’s going on.”

Macy, 15, and Makena, 17, are part of a resurgence in P.E.I. sailing on the North American scene. 

And proof no farther to find than the team’s 20th place finish at the recent 29er North Americans regatta in Kingston, Ont., which featured 30 boats in their class and 175 of the top sailors on the continent.

Modest results perhaps, but not bad for a team less than two seasons old and sailing in its first major regatta. The pair were also the first P.E.I. team at the regatta in eight years.

“We were pretty pleased with the results. We expected to be one of the last two boats,” Makena said.

Macy skippers their 29er racing skiff, a 4.4 metre single-masted, plain grey fibreglass shell so stripped down it looks like it’s just dropped from the mold. 

29er’s can rocket through waves upwards of 30 knots. On land that speed would get you ticketed by police in a 50-kilometre zone.

Makena’s the forward, her feet flat on the gunwales, body laid out flat over the water, back inches from the waves, working sail, coaxing speed from the sleek dinghy.

Neither role is comfortable, relaxing or scenic, though the sisters might differ. After all, they’ve been on water most of their lives.

They live with their parents Stephen and Michelle in Charlottetown’s Brighton neighbourhood overlooking the North River near where it enters the Charlottetown Harbour.

Sailing through harsh weather and water with their parents, including a memorable journey to the Magdalen Islands when they were younger, is nothing new.

“I love it. It’s so free being out on the water. I just find it relaxing being out there and even though competing isn’t relaxing, it’s peaceful,” Makena said.

Makena is the more mellow of the pair. Macy rarely leaves the battlefield for long even when appreciating it.

“It’s really a unique sport. Out on the water there’s a real sense of freedom (to go along with) the racing and the competition,” Macy said.

Stephen is president of the six-member competitive P.E.I. sail team. It works alongside Sail P.E.I., the provincial organization overseeing the overall health of the sport, and works out of the Charlottetown Yacht Club. Michelle’s behind the scenes doing much of the grunt work. Both are dedicated. 

Stephen said it’s year two of a decade-long plan to revive the sport, faded somewhat over time and to him surprising given P.E.I. is surrounded by what he thinks is some of the best sailing water in North America. He hopes to attract, train and unleash new blood eager to move and shake the competitive sailing world.

“We think we should have some real potential,” Stephen said.

Either way, the sisters plan to return next season. Goals are similar but different considering the sister’s differing outlooks.

“The long-term goal is to get to the next Canada Games. It would be a very good goal to be in the top three. We’ll have to work hard to achieve it,” Macy said.

Makena, who sailed in laser radial at the last Canada Summer Games two years ago and finished ninth, follows suit.

“I just want to get to as many regattas as we can and make the best of the experience.”

The sisters also alpine ski competitively on the P.E.I. alpine ski team and are shoo-ins to make Team P.E.I. for the Canada Winter Games beginning in late February in Red Deer, Alta.  

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