NORTHEAST HARBOR — The team on Woodie showed everyone that their July Series win in 2021 was just a warmup for 2022.
With Alec Fisichella on the helm, the rest of the team was redistributed but as sharp as a needle sailing the boat higher, flatter and hunting down the small distinctions in water texture to keep Woodie in the breeze and pointing at the target.
In the Saturday races of the three-day Hospice Regatta, the breeze was as shifty as a 10-speed truck transmission with the tide ebbing from the Sound to add a bit of excitement.
Each time a boat worked to the right, it made gains on close rivals getting pulled down in the tide. Gambler was an exception, hitting the right side hard and getting a gigantic shift with pressure to gnaw its way from the back to the front of the pack. Downwind was a challenge with the pole on the headstay in one moment and a gybe and the pole eased to the headstay again without changing direction.
Commodore Mia Thompson had Freyja working those shifts and picked off boats by doing what is the most important rule in sailboat racing – Point at the Mark. Captain Bean with Riley and Ryan Donahue and Hewlett Kent were often in phase and usually having a positive delta picking folks off. Fredrik Salveson in Eagle was consistently winning the starts, dealing with a new boat and wrestling at the top of the pile along with newcomer Ned Johnston in Gosling.
The second race was started from Spurling Ledge with a dying right hand shift to the west. The faint breeze filled back in from the right or north and made the first leg a starboard tack fetch. Full stop and the signal boat called everyone back for a restart at the southeast corner of Greening Island. The top three boats finished in the exact same order, with Woodie nicely showing off its stern to all the competitors.
As the sun started to move towards the northwest horizon, the final race was an all-out dinghy race with crazy shifts and crowded turns. The first five boats finished within 12 seconds of each other with J’Ellie Bean grabbing the ring from Eagle and Gosling with Alec Fisichella slipping in at second place right on Fred Ford’s hip.
On day three, the cruising class took to the water. Dreadnought, sailed by veteran Captain Joe Weber, made some small but critical moves to keep his sailboat chewing away at the time on the mighty red Cybele sailed by David Rockefeller.
Dreadnought took its spinnaker down early on the windward side before turning the mark at Spurling Ledge off Cranberry Island. This let the boat turn cleanly but also set it up for a perfect hoist after the next turn at the flasher off Sutton Island.
Dreadnought sailed high of the rhumb line and then set its enormous, asymmetric spinnaker sail to close the distance on Cybele on the downwind leg to Northeast Harbor. At the finish line, Dreadnought eked out a corrected time victory of 17 seconds in the race over Rockefeller.
The mighty Sidewinder sailed by Tom Rolfes was less than 2.5 minutes astern, and Lark, sailed by John Roberts, was less than a minute behind them. That’s some tight racing after 15.1 miles with the throttle pegged down to the floor.
Best of all, these participants and many other sailors who didn’t make the race contributed an entry fee for the benefit of the Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County. It was a great showing for a wonderful organization that makes a real difference in this community throughout the year.
Many thanks go to all the competitors who made a gift and enjoyed the wonderful post-race gathering that also honored Jody Wolford-Tucker in her final year as the executive director of that organization.
1 Alec Fisichella – Woodie
2 Fred Ford, Ryan Donahue, Riley Donahue, Hewlett Kent – JEllieBean
3 Mia Thompson, Lisa Brown Ehrhart, Andrew Kennedy, Alison “Beetle” Schafer – Freyja
4 Ned Johnston, Bill Smith, Otto Smith, Stephen Linscott, Alex Donahue – Gosling
5 Fredrik Salveson, Fredrik Salveson – Eagle
1 Joe Weber, Bill Dowling, Steve Linscott, Kevin Snyder – Dreadnought
2 David Rockefeller, Chris Groobey, Carolyn Groobey – Cybele
3 Tom Rolfes, Sean Rolfes, Joe Peine, Mark Weber – Sidewinder
4 John Roberts Jr. – Lark
5 Peter Howard – Mocking Bird