The beat goes on during the weather leg of a Phil Harman Cup regatta race Sunday afternoon. Maine Maritime Academy’s young crew showed its grit, winning the next race after a disqualification, but still finished near the bottom of the fleet. PHOTO BY STEPHEN RAPPAPORT

Bruins sweep Harman and PenBay regattas at MMA

CASTINE — Last weekend was a great one for aquatic bears as the Brown Bruins and Bowdoin Polar Bears turned in powerful sailing performances at the Philip Harman Cup and Penobscot Bay regattas hosted by Maine Maritime Academy.

Brown won both events, crushing the Polar Bears by 22 points in the PenBay and edging their Maine adversaries by a scant two points in the Harman Cup.

The Polar Bears wound up third in the Harman, tied with second-place Northeastern because the Huskies finished with three bullets — first place finishes — in eight races, three more than the Polar Bears.

Maine Maritime Academy, with a team of mostly freshman and sophomore sailors this year, finished seventh in the eight-boat Harman fleet and 11th in the 15-boat PenBay fleet.

The Harman Cup features keelboats, Colgate 26 sloops at MMA, sailed by a crew of four. The PenBay is raced in two-person 420 dinghies. The fleet is split into two divisions, with different crews from each team. The dinghy races are generally shorter than the keelboat events.

Weather, with the forecast of thunderstorms and the threat of lightning, posed a problem for both fleets on Saturday. The Colgate fleet abandoned one race halfway through and returned to the moorings for a short while before racing could be resumed.

The wind also was problematic.

The steady north northwest breeze evident before racing began encouraged the race committee to send the Colgate fleet out into East Penobscot Bay. The regatta began in a dying 8-knot breeze but, after the first race, the wind died and the event was moved to a shorter windward-leeward course inside Castine Harbor.

The PenBay fleet faced similar challenges.

A steady 7-knot north wind in the morning gave way to a shifty north northwesterly breeze after the first two races. As thunderheads appeared in a darkening sky, sailing was abandoned for the day after five races.

Sunday brought much better conditions for both fleets. A sweet northern breeze blew as much as 15 knots in the morning but softened throughout the day.

Still racing inside the harbor, the Harman fleet completed four more races. The shifty, puffy north northeasterly breeze was challenging both for sailors and the race committee, which spent much of the day shifting the marks on the windward-leeward course.

Farther up inside Smith Cove, a somewhat steadier 10-knot north wind let the PenBay race committee run seven more races before the 2 p.m. time limit and both divisions completed eight races. Brown’s B-division boat was particularly impressive, finishing with three bullets and four seconds in eight races.

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Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]
Stephen Rappaport

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