Two classic sailing yacht races—the Castine Classic and the Camden Classic—made for thrilling views from shore, but there was plenty of excitement on board the vessels, too.
The presence of young sailors from the Castine Yacht Club crewing on many boats gave both races a new flavor.
“These kids are in demand on the boats,” said Bob Scott, co-chairman of the Castine Classic and skipper of the Falcon, a 1936 Herreshoff-designed yacht that raced to second place in its class in both events.
Heavy fog delays Castine Classic
The fog rolled in with the tide on the morning of the Castine Classic, Thursday, August 2. For those waiting on Fort Madison for boats to rendezvous for an 11:30 a.m. start, barely a lobster buoy was visible floating close to shore.
“They’re out there somewhere,” one onlooker said.
At approximately 1 p.m., the fog cleared and the race began, with the six classes starting off in staggered intervals from the Castine Harbor bell.
The clearing fog did nothing to raise the wind, however.
“It was a search-for-the-wind race,” said Scott, who led the Falcon to second place in the Classic A division.
The 19.6 nautical mile course runs through the Penobscot Bay, with marks on Islesboro Ledge and Macintosh Ledge at the southern tip of Islesboro, and finishes in Camden.
“The wind is not at all consistent throughout the Bay, particularly when it’s light,” said Scott. “We were counting on it to come in from the southwest around 2, but it did not.”
The six classes started in a very light southerly breeze, “which shortly died,” said David Bicks, and the race committee shortened the course.
Although most boats were able to finish, none of the Classic C yachts completed the course.
In the Classic A division, Siren, a 1936 45.3-foot Stephens & Sparkman NY32, came in first with a time of 2:22.03. Bicks presented its skipper, Peter Cassidy, with the Ames Cup at the award ceremony at WoodenBoat School in Brooklin after the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday, August 4.
The Ames Cup, awarded to the overall winner of the race, honors the memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames, who were lost at sea on June 9, 1935 in an unsuccessful effort to save their father who was washed overboard during the Newport to Bergen, Norway yacht race. The Ames family hailed from Castine.
Siren also won two more trophies: the Sparkman & Stevens trophy, awarded to the S&S boat with the lowest corrected time, and the Mitch Gibbons-Neff trophy, given in memory of Gibbons-Neff, late head of S&S.
Spartan, a 1912 Herreshoff-designed 72-foot NY50, skippered by Charles Ryan, won in the Fife/Herreshoff class, repeating its 2011 win in the Herreshoff class.
A combined Herreshoff and Fife class raced this year, to “continue the rivalry,” said race co-chairman Bicks.
Prior to the race, the historic Fife yachts tied up at the Castine town dock, and a symposium on their design, construction and sailing copies was held at Maine Maritime Academy. In 2011, the Herreshoff yachts were honored in similar fashion.
In the Spirit of Tradition class, Isobel, a 75-foot Stephens-Waring yacht skippered by Richard Schotte, came in first, with a time of 2:01:23. The Classic B race saw Rogue, a 1953 Herreshoff-designed yacht skippered by Seville Simonds take first place. In the Classic C division, another Herreshoff-designed yacht, the 1985 38-foot Galatea, skippered by Robin Lloyd, grabbed first place honors. In the Concordia class, Otter, a 1954 41-foot yacht skippered by Robert Keefer took first place with a time of 3:02:43. Phalarope, skippered by Ann Ashton of Cstine, placed third in that class with a time of 3:09:29.
Camden Classic “fraught with rocks and ledges”
The Camden Classic, held on Friday, August 3, is the second “feeder” race that leads up to the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, held the day after the Castine Classic. Sailboats race over the top of North Haven and through the Deer Island Thoroughfare to finish in Brooklin.
On Friday, 56 classic sailing yachts headed out from Camden in a course “fraught with rocks and ledges,” according to Scott.
“When the fleet passes through the long and narrow Deer Island Thoroughfare downwind, with spinnakers flying, it makes a lasting impression on all who see it,” said Scott, who led the Herreshoff-built yacht to second place in the Classic B division.
“The most exciting moment was when we were up against the 72-foot Spartan, who beat us by one second,” Scott added.
The fleet started the race in light wind that increased as the race continued to reach around 14 to 15 knots, with frequent changes in direction.
“The wind was shifting all over the place,” said Christian Arntzen of Connecticut and Castine, who crewed on Pleione in the Spirit of Tradition class.
Spartan, a 1912 Herreshoff-designed NY50, won the first-place award in the Classic B division, with Andrew Coughlin of Castine as skipper.
In the Spirit of Tradition class, Isobel, a 68.7-foot Stephens-Waring skippered by Richard Schotte took first place.
Gosling, a 24.1-foot Mason-designed Ostkust, won the Classic A division.