Stephen Rappaport

Weekend Features Three Classic Races Despite the Classic August Weather

Stephen Rappaport
Like an elegant ghost from yachting’s more glamorous past, the century old, 72-foot New York 50 Spartan (right) dominated the eyes of all beholders during last week’s Castine Classic Yacht Race, the Camden-Brooklin Race and the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta.

BROOKLIN — If patience is a virtue, the sailors who spent the end of last week aboard the boats that took part in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta and the two feeder races that precede it must be a saintly lot indeed.

As is so often the case in August, the weather for last Thursday’s Castine Classic Yacht Race, Friday’s Camden Wooden Yacht Regatta and the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta on Saturday was notable for a three-day stretch of zephyr-like breezes that barely ruffled the waters of Penobscot Bay, the Reach or Jericho Bay.

Saturday morning found 102 boats milling around, primarily under power, in a light fog and even lighter southeast wind waiting for the 11 a.m. signal to start the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. The signal that came from the race committee aboard the motorsailer Burma, though, called for a half-hour delay before the first three classes of the eight-class fleet would drift across the starting line toward the eastern entrance of the Reach and Jericho Bay, where a faint breeze stirred.

The same fate befell the 42-boat fleet gathered at the mouth of Castine Harbor on Thursday morning for the start of the Classic Yacht Race. A dying northeasterly breeze gave way to an even lighter southwesterly — conditions that forced the race committee to shorten the usual 19.6-mile course and produced only one finish in less than four hours.

Isobel, the new Stephens & Waring-designed 75-footer launched last month by Brooklin Boat Yard, was the speedster of the show, finishing with an elapsed time of just under 3 hours, 27 minutes to win the Spirit of Tradition class. Her closest competitor, 49 minutes behind, 38 minutes on corrected time, was the astonishing and stunning Spartan.

Designed by Nathaniel Herreshoff for the New York Yacht Club, the 72-foot NY-50 class yacht was launched in 1912. She was one of six exquisitely restored Herreshoff-designed yachts in the race. Also racing in the class were Nellie (1903), a pair of NY-30s, Alera (1904) and Cara Mia (1905), Neith (1907) and the 58-foot P-Class Joyant (1912).

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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]