Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 21, 2014
Retired skippers race under fair skies, steady wind
by Anne Berleant
A southwesterly wind that held steady from about 6 to 12 knots made for beautiful sailing in the 63rd Maine Retired Skippers Race on August 16.
Falcon, a 45-foot NY32 sloop, skippered by John Gardner, bested its 2013 second-place finish, with Jabberwocky II, skippered by Gary Cran, nearly three minutes behind.
“The boat was sailing beautifully,” said Gardner. “We had a good crew. It’s a fast boat.”
The start of the race is staggered to account for the capabilities of the different vessels. Whisper, skippered by 97-year-old Ted Rodgers, last year’s winner on the Payhuh Kun, was given the latest start time but finished near the end.
But the real story was the wind, which allowed the vessels to move at a steady clip and for a full race course, unlike the recent years when becalmed boats withdrew and the course was shortened by the race committee.
“I think everyone’s going to be happy to do a five-leg race this year,” said race committee chairman Jim Raber soon after its start.
The conditions favored the bigger boats, noted Maine Maritime Academy’s Dana Willis, from the helm of the committee boat.
Of the 18 boats that entered, all were sloops, but for three: the cutter Jabberwocky II, the schooner Alamar, skippered by Carl Chase, and the yawl Harvest, skippered by Peter Roessiger, which withdrew before its start because of a broken jib.
Falcon led the fleet to the third mark, rounding the Castine harbor bell buoy to backtrack to a mark just off Isleboro Ledge before returning back to the buoy for the finish.
Restless, skippered by Chris Jeffrey, placed third, Joie de Vivre, skippered by Tim Samway placed fourth, and Cat’s Paw, skippered by Butch Minson placed fifth.
Maine Maritime Academy hosted the race, and the award ceremony followed at the MMA dock.