SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The 25th annual Friendship Sloop Rendezvous is set for Saturday, July 15, at 1 p.m. The race will begin at Sand Point at the northwest corner of Greening Island.
The Friendship Sloop Society event is more of a friendly gathering than a race. There are no handicaps or trophies.
“Just bragging rights,” said organizer Miff Lauriat.
Last year’s winner, Andy Zuber of Friendship, is set to return in Gladiator to defend her title.
While there is a fleet of Friendship sloops from around the state and southern Massachusetts that will join in the rendezvous, the majority of the boats are local vessels.
“Ralph Stanley and Jarvis Newman created so many boats here in Southwest Harbor that it is now the epicenter of Friendship sloops in general,” said Lauriat “We have more Friendship sloops here than anywhere else in the world.”
Friendship sloops were originally designed in Friendship, but grew in popularity here.
The Southwest Harbor race began 25 years ago with just a handful of boats as a practice run for the Homecoming Rendezvous and Races at Rockland, which is now in its 57th year.
Now, Lauriat said, just as many or more boats attend the Southwest Harbor event.
Lauriat will race Salatia, while Downeast Sailing Adventures’ Surprise, Chrissy of Downeast Windjammer Cruises, Karl Brunner’s Helen Brooks and Alice E, Dan and Kathe Walton’s Old Baldy, Joe Neilson’s Hieronymous, Steve Hughes’s Osprey, Betsy Holzmann’s Endeavor, Scott Martin’s Eden and Rick and Debbie Smith’s Tristan are also set to appear, among others.
Lauriat said that one of the best spots to take in the picturesque race is from the Boat House at The Claremont Inn in Southwest Harbor.
“You can watch the start of the race and have a cocktail,” he said.