BROOKLIN — Xennial? Millennial? Gen Y?
Those are all terms used to describe the cohort of people born during the generation that began in 1985. The oldest of them would be 34 now or, if their birthdays came early enough in the year, they would now be in their 35th year and, like the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta this Saturday, about to celebrate a 35th birthday.
Fifteen wooden sailboats took part in the first race, the brainchild of Brooklin Boat Yard owner Steve White and Frank Hull.
Last year, 105 boats signed up to sail the 16-nautical mile race course from a start off Torrey Island in the eponymous Eggemoggin Reach, out into Jericho Bay around Egg Rock and Halibut Rocks, then back to a finish between Babson Island and the Naskeag Penninsula. The whole affair is capped by an awards ceremony and some serious partying on the shore of the WoodenBoat School.
The fleet is divided into eight classes, as defined by the Classic Yacht Owners Association: two each for Vintage and Spirit of Tradition boats; three for Classic boats; and one for gaff-riggers and schooners.
The first two classes — generally the smallest boats — will get underway at 11 a.m., followed at 10-minute intervals by the gaffers, larger Classics, then larger and faster boats until the final starting gun sounds at 11:40 for the largest, and presumably fastest, B-division Spirit of Tradition yachts.
All starting times are dependent on the presence of wind and, it is hoped, the absence of the dungeon-thick fog that in some past years wrapped the milling fleet in near-blind conditions as they hunted for an invisible starting line.
Last year, just two seconds separated the winner of the Spirit of Tradition B class, the 49-foot Jim Taylor-designed Blackfish, and the runner-up Anna, a 66-footer designed by the Belfast team of Robert Stephens and Paul Waring.
In the Vintage B class, home to many of the most spectacular boats in the fleet, three truly classic Sparkman & Stephens designs built in the 1930s — the 53-foot sloop Sonny, the 68-foot yawl Black Watch and the 45-foot sloop Siren — were separated at the finish line by a scant five minutes on corrected time.
Isobel, a Stephens-Waring-designed 68-foot B-division Spirit of Tradition sloop launched at Brooklin Boatyard in 2011, had the fastest elapsed time for the day of just over two hours, 11 minutes. Black Watch, about the same overall length but 73 years older, was just three minutes slower over the course.