Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 9, 2012
Sailing fleets race through Penobscot Bay waters in two classic regattas
Isobel, center left, races against a classic Fife yacht, at center right, in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday, August 4. Isobel, launched in 2011 by Brooklin Boatyard and skippered by Richard Schotte, placed second in the Spirit of Tradition Class B race.
by Anne Berleant
Two classic sailing yacht races—the Camden Classic and Eggemoggin Reach Regatta—made for thrilling views from shore, but there was plenty of excitement on board the vessels, too.
The winds hold for Eggemoggin Reach Regatta
Ninety-three wooden sailboats raced through Jericho Bay on Saturday, August 4, in a 16 nautical mile course down Eggemoggin Reach, stretching from Torrey Island out to Halibut Rocks off Marshall Island. There, competitors tack their vessels round the ledges and head back on a mostly parallel course to finish by Naskeag Point.
Any early morning fog had lifted by the 11:00 a.m. starting time, but light winds caused a one hour delay.
“It was a smart, wise call on the part of the race committee,” said event organizer Lucia Michaud. After that, “the winds held pretty much for everyone.”
Sailing yachts qualified in eight classes, with starting times staggered at 10-minute intervals. Michaud reported no bottlenecks during the race.
Local boats, Swallow, skippered by Jeff Becton of Deer Isle and Lark, skippered by Patrick Wilmerding of Blue Hill took first place in the Spirit of Tradition A and B classes respectively
The Eggemoggin Reach Regatta is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the three races, with the Castine and Camden Classics “feeding” into it on the two previous days. It drew the greatest number of boats.
The race “went terrific,” said Michaud. “It’s the spirit of the race” to draw together volunteers to hold the event and its post-race celebrations.
The first ERR began 27 years ago, started by Steve White and Frank Hull of Brooklin Boatyard. On Saturday, the day finished as in years past, with an awards ceremony, barbeque and dancing at WoodenBoat Publications headquarters on Naskeag Point in Brooklin.
Camden Classic “fraught with rocks and ledges”
The Camden Classic, held on Friday, August 3, is one of two “feeder” races that lead up to the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. (The Castine Classic, held a day earlier, is the first race.) Sailboats race over the top of North Haven and through the Deer Island Thoroughfare, to finish in Brooklin.
Fifty-six classic sailing yachts headed out from Camden in a course “fraught with rocks and ledges,” according to Bob Scott, skipper of the 1936 45.3-foot Falcon.
“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 was 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, who crewed on Pleione in the Spirit of Tradition class.
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. Spartan, a 1912 Herreshoff-designed NY50, won first place in the Classic B, division, with Andrew Coughlin, of Castine, as skipper.