Small Reach Regatta Is On the Move Again

A traditional Nomans Land boat ready for a day of sailing in Frenchman Bay at the 2012 Small Reach Regatta.

ELLSWORTH — An event that has become one of the biggest little regattas among traditional small-craft afcionados, in enthusiasm if not necessarily fleet size, will leave Hancock County for a new venue in 2013.

For the past three years, some 50 small wooden boats and their crews have gathered at Lamoine State Park to take part under sail and oar-power in the Small Reach Regatta (SRR.) Most of the boats, some of them works of art, were built by their owners. Before setting up shop in Lamoine, the regatta spent four years based at the WoodenBoat School waterfront and sailors and oarsmen spent their time parsing the same waters where the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta (ERR) is held.

For its eighth iteration, the SRR will move its home base to the Audubon Society’s nature camp on Hog Island in Muscongus Bay on the Midcoast. The 330-acre island is located in the town of Bremen.

The SRR got its start in 2006 when Tom Jackson, an editor at WoodenBoat magazine, and a few other traditional boat enthusiasts decided they would try to emulate the small-boat “raids” — generally multi-day get-togethers featuring lots of time on the water and plenty of post-boating socializing — that are popular in northern Europe

According to the regatta’s website, “the idea of the SRR is to gather together small sail-and-oars boats for sailing, with the same kind of camaraderie and appreciation that the ERR has established.” The idea has evidently worked. In short order, interest in the event had grown to the point that the entry list now has to be limited to 50 boats.

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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]