SailMaine Names New Executive Director
PORTLAND, Maine, May 25, 2017 – SailMaine announced today the appointment of Michael McAllister, former member of SailMaine’s Board of Directors, as its new Executive Director. For the past year McAllister has been serving as Interim Executive Director. In that role, McAllister has grown program enrollment and launched a capital campaign as well as established several new community initiatives. The appointment comes at a time when SailMaine is working with Portland city officials to secure a permanent presence on Casco Bay in conjunction with the redevelopment of 58 Fore Street.
A resident of Portland, McAllister will continue to oversee SailMaine’s growth and work with the Board to establish a new long-term strategic plan. SailMaine, a nonprofit organization that supports community sailing, has been helping junior sailors, adults, and families get out on the water since 1996 from its home base on Casco Bay. The organization has achieved significant growth and success in recent years with program expansions to Centerboard Yacht Club in South Portland and Great Pond Yacht Club in Belgrade. In 2016, in addition to serving 101 adult participants, SailMaine had 519 children--from novice to advanced sailors--participate in its subsidized youth programs.
McAllister first began coaching part-time for SailMaine while he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Maine. He continued to coach and expanded his involvement with the organization while studying for his law degree at Maine Law and as a practicing attorney in Portland. He joined the Board of Directors three years ago and when the position of Executive Director became open last summer, he decided to return to support the organization full-time.
SailMaine founder Chris Robinson said, “The organization has benefitted tremendously from Michael’s willingness to take on this leadership role at a time when SailMaine is experiencing significant growth and development. Michael’s energy and caliber as an executive and the respect he garners from the local sailing community will help SailMaine as we grow our fleet and program offerings in an effort to get more people out on the water.”
A native of Maine, McAllister has been actively engaged in the state’s sailing community since his youth, first sailing and then instructing at Biddeford Pool Yacht Club, where he completed US Sailing Small Boat Level 1 and 2 courses. In college, McAllister sailed competitively for the University of Rhode Island and was nationally ranked and captain of the team his senior year before returning to coach the team for one year. He then moved on to coach for three years at Columbia University in New York City. During summers, McAllister returned to Maine and was program director of the Christmas Cove Improvement Association in South Bristol.
Today, McAllister continues to sail competitively on Casco Bay and in Boston at Courageous Sailing’s Frostbite Series each winter. McAllister said of his appointment to Executive Director of SailMaine, “I have always enjoyed being a part of the SailMaine community and to lead an organization as dynamic as this is both personally and professionally rewarding.”
As executive director of SailMaine, McAllister will continue to pursue SailMaine's mission of providing affordable access to the water through community sailing and educational programming.. In the last year, McAllister formed a partnership with the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center to establish an Adaptive sailing program, set to launch this summer at SailMaine. He also created a forum for high school students and parents in which he brought together college head coaches from across the Northeast to share insights into what sailing is like at the collegiate level. Perhaps most significantly, McAllister launched in December 2016 a $250,000 capital campaign to enable the purchase of twenty-four U.S-manufactured 420 sailboats, the organization’s first-ever new fleet of boats. As of today, the campaign is three-quarters of the way to its goal. To support these and other endeavors, McAllister has improved SailMaine’s communications approach and deepened community outreach, ensuring that the organization is connecting with both current participants as well as future community sailors.
SailMaine has offered youth education and adult programming from the Eastern Waterfront for over twenty years. SailMaine is a non-profit that provides affordable access to the water through community sailing and educational programming. SailMaine’s website is www.sailmaine.org.