CASTINE — Silent Maid, a 39-foot Barnegat Bay catboat, built in 2009 and sailed by Peter Kellogg, took home the bacon last Thursday in the 20th annual Castine Classic Yacht Race.
Sponsored by the Castine Yacht Club, the race down Penobscot Bay to Camden led off three days of classic boat racing, culminating in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday.
Under clear skies and a dying northwest breeze moving to the southwest, 36 boats divided among four classes set sail from the Castine harbor bell around midday Thursday on a 19.6-nautical mile course with a finish set off Curtis Island at the mouth of Camden Harbor.
With a dying wind and the threat of a turning tide, the race committee shortened the course to about 11 miles, with a finish line at Mouse Island, one of a chain of small islands in eastern Penobscot Bay stretching south from Islesboro.
Sailing in the Classic B class, Silent Maid nipped Isla, a 45-foot Sparkman & Stephens-designed New York 32 built in 1936 and sailed by Henry May, by a scant eight seconds on corrected time. Neith, a 53-foot Herreshoff built in 1907, sailed by Van Brown, took third place among the classic classes.
As overall winner, Silent Maid won the Ames Cup honoring the memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames, who were lost at sea in 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.
In the Classic A fleet, Isla and Neith were followed by The Hawk, a 38-foot Tripp design, built in 1968 and sailed by Olvind Lorentzen.
In Classic B, generally smaller but still classic boats, Silent Maid was followed by Otter, a 41-foot Concordia built in 1954, sailed by Robert Keefer. Palawan, a 47-foot Sparkman & Stephens yawl built in 1952, sailed by Scott Gazelle, took third place.
The Classic C fleet was led by the gaff sloop Claas van der Linde’s Alera, the first of the 43-foot-6-inch Herreshoff-designed New York 30 class. Built in 1904, it was by far the oldest boat in the fleet.
Finali, a 38-foot Sparkman & Stephens sloop built in 1949, placed second followed by Thetis, a 26-foot Herreshoff Alerion built in 2008.
In the Spirit of Tradition class, Outlier, a Botin 55 launched this spring by Brooklin Boat Yard, had the fastest elapsed time for the day — just over two hours 19 minutes, but Vortex, a 55-square-meter sloop launched by BBY in 1990 and skippered by yard owner Steve White, took honors on corrected time, leading Blackfish, a Taylor 49 also built at BBY, by less than three minutes and Outlier by just under eight minutes.
This year’s race celebrated the designs of Nathaniel G. Herreshoff Wednesday afternoon with an exhibition at the Castine town dock of nine Herreshoff boats and a symposium at Maine Maritime Academy chaired by Bill Lynn, executive director of the Herreshoff Marine Museum/America’s Cup Hall of Fame and a panel of Herreshoff sailors and experts.
Brooklin photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz received the W.P. Stephens Award from Steve White, director of Mystic Seaport, in recognition of his significant contribution to American yachting. The commodore of the Castine Yacht Club, John Zoller, also paid tribute to David Bicks for his 20 years of leadership of the annual Castine Classic celebration.