MOUNT DESERT — Saturday was a great day for a sailboat race, though fickle winds tested sailors in both the Hospice Regatta and the Southwest Harbor Friendship Sloop Race.
Seven cruising boats and 16 International One-Design sloops signed up for the Hospice Regatta.
Race committee chairman Fran Charles dropped the starting flag for the cruisers at 1 p.m. and sent them out the Western Way, around Little Duck Island and back to the finish in the middle of Mount Desert Island’s Great Harbor.
Joe Weber’s 49-foot Dreadnought, launched last summer by Brooklin Boat Yard, was first to finish, but Henry Brauer’s Fleetwing took home the silver from the prize ceremony.
With a south to southwest breeze varying from 3 to 12 knots, Dreadnought covered the 16.9-mile course in 3 hours, 8 minutes, 44 seconds, 1 minute 13 seconds ahead of Fleetwing. With a substantially higher handicap rating, though, Brauer’s J/111 took home corrected time honors by more than six minutes.
The IOD fleet sailed two Hospice Regatta races, with Tyler Steel’s gleaming black-hulled Gambler edging Bill Dowling’s bi-colored Mischief for the day’s honors. Gambler won the first race of the day, with Mischief close behind. Gambler took a second place in the second race, won by Liana Folger in Acontia, but Mischief slipped to fifth.
While the Hospice Regatta cruising boats were getting under way in the Great Harbor, 20 boats — the largest fleet in the event’s history — gathered west of Greenings Island for the start of the 23rd annual Southwest Harbor Friendship Sloop Race. Although most of the boats came from nearby, three boats made the trek all the way from Massachusetts to race.
With an 8-knot northerly apparently prevailing and the tide at last of the ebb, race organizer Miff Lauriat called for a windward start that would send the fleet toward the Narrows buoy at the mouth of Somes Sound. By the time the gun sounded, though, the wind had fallen light and come round out of the south, leaving the fleet to more or less ghost toward what had been a weather mark.
Salatia rounded first and headed back through the fleet toward the Greenings Island Ledge buoy. The larger Gladiator, age 113, and Alice E., even older at 116, soon passed her and, as the breeze filled in south of Greenings Island, headed for the Bear Island bell buoy and then to the finish off the Northwest corner of the island.
Gladiator, owned by Bill and Helen Zuber of Friendship, held on to win. At the helm was Friendship Sloop Society Commodore Noel March — a Friendship sloop sailor on the Maine coast for 50 years.
Amity, launched in 1901 by boatbuilder Wilbur A. Morse of Friendship, finished eighth. For many years, Amity was owned by James Russell Wiggins, until the death of the editor and publisher of The Ellsworth American.
Several other fleets raced on Friday as part of the Hospice Regatta.
Ned Johnson won the Luders 16 class event in Domino.
Northeast Harbor junior sailors Bryan Trammel and Ryder Henry won the Junior Hospice Regatta 420 class and Terra Ehrhart of the MDI Community Sailing Center took home the prize in the Optimist Pram class.