News Feature

Originally published in Compass, August 14, 2014
Sailing across Penobscot Bay
63rd Retired Skippers Race set for Saturday, August 16

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by Anne Berleant

It’s time for skippers ages 65 and over to hoist their sails and test their skills. The Retired Skippers Race, now in its 63rd year, sets a 12-mile course through Penobscot Bay.

Turning marks are near Turtle Island and off Isleboro Ledge. Boats then race a down-and-back leg along the length of Isleboro and return to the Bell for the final leg. The boats are handicapped, which makes for a staggered start at the Castine Harbor bell buoy. Skippers must steer the first and last legs and as much of the other legs as they can.

Last year, 27 schooners, yawls, ketches, sloops and other sailing vessels patiently circled the Castine Harbor Bell for over two hours, waiting for the wind to pick up and the start signal—a red flag hoisted form the committee boat. Light wind plagued the entire race, with 11 boats withdrawing before and during the event.

Payah Kun, helmed by Adm. Ted Rodgers of Orland—at 96 the oldest skipper in the race—won the race and the Henry Whitney Challenge Cup. John Gardner of Castine skippered Falcon to a second-place finish.

Skippers do not need to be residents of Maine, and registration is allowed up to the morning the skippers set sail—which many do, said Tina Pitchford of Maine Maritime Academy’s waterfront office, which hosts the race. As of press time, 15 skippers had registered to participate.

Registrants for Retired Skippers Race 2014


Maine Maritime Academy Whisper Ted Rodgers

Craig Brigham Cahoots Paul Stiffler

Nigel Chase Alamar Carl Chase

Jim Facey Banshee Bruce Smith

Victoria Fort And Thou Dudley Fort

Stephen Gay de Nouveau Stephen Gay

Mike Giles Apogee Bill Pickford

Ken Hollowell Fortitude Harold Shaw

Jim Kelley Joie d’Vivre Tim Samway

Alan Krulisch CrackerJack Alan Krulisch

Butch Minson Cats Paw Butch Minson

Kirk Plender Ocean Quest Rolf Maersk Moller

Peter Roessiger Harvest Peter Roessiger

Bob Scott Falcon John Gardner

Mark Shaughnessy Magine Frederick C. Ford