CASTINE — It may be said of summer, as baseball great Yogi Berra once said of a National League pennant race, that “it ain’t over ’til it’s over.” But while it’s only late July, a look at the sailing regatta calendar gives warning that summer will be over all too soon.
On Wednesday, July 24, a fleet of intrepid small boat enthusiasts was scheduled to gather at Atlantic Boat in Brooklin for the 14th annual Small Reach Regatta — three days of rowing and sailing traditional small craft, many built by their owners — on the waters in and around Herrick Bay and Eggemoggin Reach.
Founded in 2006 by a handful of intrepid small-boat enthusiasts sailing off the beach at the WoodenBoat School, this year’s event, organized under the auspices of the Downeast Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association, has drawn a fleet of more than 80 boats, some coming from Virginia and Ontario, Canada.
Next Wednesday, less than a week away, marks the 20th annual Castine Classic Yacht Celebration sponsored by the Castine Yacht Club. One day later, a fleet of classic yachts will sail down Penobscot Bay in the annual Castine to Camden race — the first of three classic yacht racing events in Downeast waters.
On Friday, the fleet will race from Camden to Brooklin in a feeder race for the 35th edition of the annual Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday, Aug. 3. Blink an eye and two weeks later, on Aug. 17, it will be time for the 68th Maine Retired Skippers Race.
Pretty soon, though yacht clubs from Camden to Winter Harbor will stay busy for a few more weeks and the promise of fall sailing holds considerable allure, camps will be closed up, boats hauled out of the water and it will be time to bank the foundation.
Not just yet, though.
Before the racing gets underway, on Wednesday afternoon the Castine Yacht Club will honor the iconic yachts designed by Nathaniel G. Herreshoff and built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. of Bristol, R.I., with a floating exhibition at the town dock and a scheduled symposium in Maine Maritime Academy’s Delano Auditorium chaired by Bill Lynn, head of the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol.
Afterward, the club will host a reception at which the Mystic Seaport Museum will present its William P. Stephens Award to Brooklin photographer Ben Mendlowitz “in recognition of his significant and enduring contribution to the history and appreciation of American yachting.”
The 19.7-mile Castine Classic Yacht Race gets underway Thursday with a skippers meeting set for 8:30 a.m. followed by a warning gun at 11:55 for the start of the first of several classes. The race is open to monohull Classic and Spirit of Tradition yachts at least 28 feet in length, and all racing yachts are required to tow a dinghy — “no toys” — throughout the race or face disqualification and, presumably, ignominy.
Last year, Marilee, a 59-foot Herreshoff NY-40 built in 1926 and towing a dinghy won the 19th Castine Classic.