Light winds and quick weather changes—and a spectacular fleet of classic wooden sailing yachts—marked the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on August 3 and its feeder race, the Camden Classic on August 2.
Spectators from land and water thrilled at the sight of dozens of sailboats racing through the Deer Island Thorofare and Eggemoggin Reach. For skippers and crew, the races were just as memorable.
A winner in both races was the Spartan, skippered by Bob Festa. The N.G. Herreshoff-designed 72-foot NY 50 raced to a top finish in the Gaffs and Schooners division in the ERR and the Classic B division in the Camden Classic.
A “glorious finish” for the ERR
After a 40-minute delay, the first of five yacht classes set off from Torrey Island on the 16-mile course through Jericho Bay, past Swan’s Island, backtracking to end at Naskeag Point in Brooklin.
“It can only be described as a glorious finish,” said Jon Wilson, founder of Brooklin’s WoodenBoat School, who raced the 30-foot Harris/Howlan-designed Free Spirit after a 13-year absence. “There were some extraordinary examples of great racing. It was an amazing race.
“We had a heavy shower [at the start] and the breeze went immediately quite light,” Wilson said. “As we got out on Jericho Bay, the wind began to build…by the time we landed at Halibut Rocks, the second mark, we were starting to get some real breeze.”
“Rain, no wind, lots of wind, rainbows,” event organizer Lucia Michaud described the race conditions.
Bob Scott of Castine, who raced NY32 Falcon to a first place finish in the Vintage B division, echoed Wilson’s description. “It was one of the most exciting races ever. It was just perfect.”
Ninety-three boats sailed in five classes. In the Gaffs and Schooners division, the Spartan, skippered by Bob Festa, took first place. The N.G. Herreshoff-designed 72-foot NY 50 also raced to a top finish the previous day in the Classic B division of the Camden Classic.
In the Spirit of Tradition A class, the winner was the 31-foot Swallow, designed by Joel White and built at Brooklin Boat Yard. Isobel, a 68-foot Stephens-Waring designed Spirit of Tradition vessel, skippered by Richard Schotte, marked the fastest overall time at 2:59:28.
Wilson finished third in the Vintage A class—“Not bad for a cruising boat,” he said.
“Miserable weather” a challenge
in Camden Classic
The Camden Classic, held on August 2, endured “miserable weather,” said Bob Scott, skipper of the NY 32 37-foot Falcon, which placed first in its class. “Drizzle and murk and very little wind.”
Fifty-three boats in three classes—Classic A, Classic B and Spirit of Tradition—raced over the top of North Haven and through the Deer Island Thorofare, to finish in Brooklin.
The bad weather, however didn’t translate into a bad race. “A miserable weather race can be fun and exciting, but it can be challenging,” Scott said.
“There was very light air. In the beginning, we were beating (going as close to the wind as possible) across the western bay to the Deer Island Thorofare There, we popped our shoots (put up the spinnakers) and had a most agonizingly slow pace into Jericho Bay.”
The race, which began at 11:30 a.m., “mercifully ended” for Scott at 7:30 p.m.
“It was a day’s work,” he said. “The lead changed all the time, back and forth among all the boats. In the end, the Falcon prevailed” to a third-place finish in the Classic B division, behind the Spartan and the Falcon (Q).
Isobel finished first in the Spirit of Tradition Class and, as in the ERR, posted the fastest time at 4:20.