MOUNT DESERT — The Northeast Harbor Fleet hosted its first overnight cruise and race series in several years Monday and Tuesday, with the boats anchoring or picking up moorings off the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin Monday night.
Fleet Director Fran Charles organized a pursuit race for the first day, in which the slower boats start first and the first across the line is the winner, and a race on corrected time on the way back Tuesday. Despite light winds, Charles called the event “some of the most fun sailing all year.”
Cruising class captain Chris Hopkins, sailing Watermark, was the overall winner for the event, playing a long game and finishing fifth and second in the two races.
Race 1 for the International One Design (IOD fleet) began under very light conditions with a course from Northeast Harbor down Blue Hill Bay to Hardwood Island. Then, the racers headed west through the Pond Island Passage to finish in a slightly shortened course at Mahoney Ledge off the south end of Eggemoggin Reach.
Auriga, sailed by the Lawson family visiting from California, decided that the quickest way to Hardwood Island was east of Black Island and southwest of Placentia Island.
Eagle, Woodie and Gambler sat becalmed for what seemed like eternity waiting for the sea breeze to fill, Charles said. “The Lawsons hit it out of the park but the others closed the gap considerably by the finish.”
Auriga won the race, followed by Woodie, skippered by Fleet Captain John Roberts, then Eagle, helmed by Courtney Jenkins. Gambler was a very close fourth.
The cruising class also had a very light start Monday as the heat and humidity were off the charts. Their race was to Placentia Island, down Blue Hill Bay to Tinker’s Island and then west past Mahoney Ledge into the Reach.
Cybele, with a taller rig than the others, looked ready to take a commanding lead but fell into the doldrums near Great Gott Island. Mike Cook in Lynnette and Commodore Steve Madeira in Fleetwing escaped that fate. Lynnette kept the sprint on to the finish. In the last quarter mile, David Rockefeller in Cybele overtook Fleetwing for second place.
“The party was a resounding success,” Charles said. The Wooden Boat School organized a catered dinner in a boat shed and arranged launch service to get sailors to and from their boats.
The race home for the IODs was from Eggemoggin Reach and out around Swan’s Island and Toothacker Bay. A long run into the Great Harbor followed, with many segments interrupted by absolutely no wind.
Woodie was at least 3 miles behind the rest at Scrag Island but rallied by the Sisters and almost snuck by to win. The Lawsons came back in the last quarter mile to win the race and the series. Woodie was second again followed by Gambler and then Eagle.
For the cruising class, Cybele charged into the lead again Tuesday, but the others were close behind. Eventually the sailors reached the gap between Hat Island and Marshall Island.
There seemed to be more breeze on the water further to the east, but Fleetwing worked west along the Marshall Island shore. Everyone had a good reaching leg outside Frenchboro’s Long Island and eventually turned to enter the Great Harbor of Mount Desert.
Alyria, the slowest boat in the fleet by boat type, won the race thanks to expert sailing by Gordon Beck.