CASTINE — The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the Castine Classic Yacht Race, reducing the fleet for the 21st annual edition of the event to just 13 yachts, down from 36 last year, according to race chairman David Bicks.
Racing last Thursday along a 19.6-nautical mile course down Penobscot Bay to Camden, the fleet left Castine in a light to moderate southwest breeze that, Bicks said, “ pretty much died” as the boats reached from Mouse Island to Robinson Rock, east of the finish line off Curtis Island at the mouth of Camden Harbor. Four boats withdrew before finishing what had become a drifter of a race, with most of the yachts taking some five hours to sail the course.
The exception was Outlier, launched last year by Brooklin Boat Yard as a boat that could win wherever it raced. With owner Harvey Jones at the helm, the lightweight, 55-foot Botin-designed sloop covered the 19.6-mile course in just over 2 hours 42 minutes to win the three-boat Spirit of Tradition class. Vortex, a 52-foot Knud Reimers design sailed by Brooklin Boat Yard owner Steve White, finished second in class, almost exactly two hours behind Outlier.
Ten boats started in the combined Classic A and Classic B fleets, four of which dropped out before the day was over.
Temptress, a Luders 24 (38 feet long overall) sailed by JB Turner of the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, was the overall winner in the Classic fleet. Temptress edged out Falcon, a New York 32 sailed by Bob Scott of Castine on corrected time for class honors.
Both Temptress and Falcon are fast boats, but Thursday’s wind, or lack of it, slowed both to a crawl. Falcon completed the race in just under 4 hours, 49 minutes while Temptress spent just over 4 hours 54 minutes on the course. Temptress won by just over three minutes on corrected time and was the winner of the Ames Cup.
Presented each year, the Ames Cup honors 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 rescue their father, who was washed overboard during the yacht race from Newport to Bergen, Norway. The Ames family hailed from Castine.