With close quarters on the Class A starting line the order of the day, both Marilee, a gaff-rigged 65-foot New York 40 launched in 1926 (right), and Saphaedra, a 55-foot Aage Nielsen-designed sloop launched 39 years later, posted lookouts on their bows. PHOTO BY STEPHEN RAPPAPORT

Castine Classic fleet races under the sun

CASTINE — A busy classic yacht racing weekend got under way last Thursday morning as 36 boats jockeyed for position around the starting line of the 18th annual Castine Classic Yacht Race — the first of three events culminating with the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday.

Skies were gray and a thin fog masked Penobscot Bay when the fleet first headed for the start. By the time the first gun sounded, though, the sky had cleared and a growing southwesterly breeze promised good sailing over the 19.6-mile course down the bay and around the Robinson Rock bell to a finish off Curtis Island at the mouth of Camden Harbor.

The fleet was split into four classes, with the first getting the gun at noon and the rest following at 10-minute intervals.

Racing in the Classic B class, Leaf, a Luders 24 built in 1944 sailed by Chris Bouzaid, took home the Ames Cup as the overall winner in the three “classic” divisions. Winning its class, the gray 38-foot sloop beat Palawan, a 47-foot Sparkman & Stephens yawl launched in 1952 and sailed by Scott Gazelle, by almost four minutes on corrected time. Otter, a 41-foot Concordia yawl skippered by Robert Keefer, took third place.

The 13-boat Classic A class featured five 45-foot New York 32 sloops designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built in 1936 for members of the New York Yacht Club. Siren, sailed by Peter Cassidy, took first place followed about four minutes later by another NY-32, Vitesse, skippered by Matthew Schoman. Santana, a 55-foot S&S yawl built in 1935 and sailed by Connor Wallace, took third place.

Pride, a Buzzards Bay 25 built at Brooklin Boat Yard, ran away from the rest of its class in last Thursday’s Castine Classic Yacht Race.

Pride, a 32-foot Buzzards Bay 25 sailed by JB Turner, won the first-to-start Classic C fleet with a 16-minute lead over by Jolle, a 36-foot Winslow yawl skippered by Charles Haines. Abigail, a 39-foot Alden ketch sailed by Jesse Terry, finished third. The class winner was built by Brooklin Boat Yard and launched in 1996, 37 years before the runner-up, Jolle.

Eight boats raced in the Spirit of Tradition class. Six of them, and two of the three top finishers, were built by BBY.

Isobel, a 68-foot Stephens Waring-designed sloop sailed by Richard Schotte, took first place. Scratch boat in the fleet, Isobel had the fastest elapsed time for the day, sailing the 19.6-mile course in just over 2 hours, 46 minutes.

Pleione, a Jim Taylor-designed 8-meter sloop, and Vortex, a Knud Reimers-designed 52-footer sailed by Steve White of Brooklin Boat Yard, finished third.

A half-dozen boats designed by K. Aage Nielsen sailed in this year’s Castine Classic. They were among a group of 17 Nielsen yachts built between 1955 and 1969 that were on exhibit along the town waterfront Wednesday afternoon. They ranged in size from a pair of 18-foot double-ended wooden sloops to the 59-foot aluminum ocean racer Hound. According to David Bicks, chairman of the event, which included a symposium on Nielsen’s designs, that was the largest gathering of Nielsen yachts ever.

The Castine Classic awards were handed out on Saturday at the WoodenBoat School in conjunction with the awards ceremony for the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta.

The Ames Cup, given to the overall winner of the Castine Classic, Leaf, honors the memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames, who were lost at sea on June 19, 1935, south of the Grand Banks 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 won the Sparkman & Stephens trophy awarded to the S&S boat with the lowest corrected time. Siren also won the Mitch Gibbons-Neff Trophy, presented in memory of the late head of S&S to the top New York 32 in the Penobscot Bay series.

The Phalarope Trophy, awarded to the top Concordia yacht in memory of Thomas G. Ashton Sr. of Castine, was presented to Otter.

More race photos: https://ellsworthamerican.smugmug.com/The-Ellsworth-American/Events/Castine-Classic-2017/

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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