MOUNT DESERT — Defending champion John Roberts was the winner of the North American Invitational regatta for the International One Design Class, hosted last week by the Northeast Harbor Fleet (NEHF).
Racing spanned three days, beginning Thursday, July 28. The visiting sailors were blown away, Commodore David Schoeder said, at how many skilled young sailors Northeast Harbor was able to field (see related story).
“MDI High was well represented,” said Fran Charles, fleet director. “It was very impressive.”
It’s the third North American title in a row for Roberts, a summer resident of Southwest Harbor and board president of the MDI Community Sailing Center. He led out of the gate, with bullets in the first two races Thursday. He wouldn’t take first in any more races after that, but his fifth-place or better finishes in the other races gave him the trophy. His total score was 23.
The Northeast Harbor One team, with skippers Chad Thieken and Tyler Steel finished second, just one point in overall score away from Roberts. “They were in quite a battle,” Charles said.
The team from Nova Scotia, led by skipper Ted Murphy Chester, finished third with two bullets and a total score of 32. “They were really excellent sailors,” Charles said. “They only had a bit of trouble on the last day getting in crowds with other boats.”
Thursday’s races were set in the Western Way in light wind: 5-7 knots out of the south.
On Friday, Charles said, “There was fog and no wind out in the Great Harbor, and it stayed all day.”
So they decided to tow the boats up into Somes Sound. “We had to wait a bit for some breeze to develop, but eventually there was enough, and it was beautiful,” he said. “It was very tight racing with all 15 boats finishing within seconds of each other.”
Saturday started with a light north wind. “We tried a downwind start, which was fun,” Charles said. “The boats had a run out to Cranberry and a long beat against an ebbing tide up to the mouth of the sound.”
The Northeast Harbor Youth team, led by pro windsurfer Carson Crain and crewed by local youth sailors, won that race.
A southerly breeze filled in after the north wind died, so the last two races were set up differently.
Skipper Sean Beaulieu and his young crew won the last race of the regatta by a full three minutes, Charles said. “It was the largest victory of the championship by far.”
In second place in that final race was IOD Class President Emeritus Danielle Lawson of San Francisco, sailing with her husband and three children, aged 3, 5 and 7. The other San Francisco team, Paul Manning and Spencer Fulweiler, came in third.
A few of the teams mixed sailors from around the country. Intelligence Experts, led by skipper Doug Savage of Virginia, included James “Buddy” Clarke of Pass Christian, Miss., and MDI alum Liana Folger, now of Alexandria, Va.
Fifteen local boats were used in the racing, with each team sailing a different boat each day. Tallying results by boat rather than by team, Satin Doll came out on top, just ahead of Gambler and Pippa.