The 1882 windjammer Grace Bailey sails in the 2019 Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Wooden boats compete in a decades-long tradition 

By Kiki Grace

BROOKLIN — The Eggemoggin Reach Regatta is scheduled to get under way Saturday morning – the high point of a weekend of Downeast yacht racing that starts with the Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden on Thursday followed by the Camden to Brooklin Race on Friday. 

On Thursday, Aug. 4, Monohull and Spirit of Tradition yachts will set sail in the Castine Classic Yacht Regatta, a 23-year-old tradition that “has built camaraderie amongst wooden boat enthusiasts from around the world,” according to Castine Classic Committee Member Tom Ashton. The yachts will traverse 19.6 nautical miles of Maine waters from Castine to Camden. 

On Friday, Aug. 5, the 35th annual Camden Yacht Club Classic feeder race will deliver sailors to Brooklin, where the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta will unfold the next day, completing a three-day, must-see-or-sail competition. 

In a regatta that celebrates the beauty of classic boats and the joys of companionship, sailors will race through several courses and experience the surrounding coastlines and waters, with celebration in full swing. From skippers’ meetings to barbeque dinners to award ceremonies, this three-day event is not only well known for the famed competitors it draws to Maine waters but is also recognized for its action-packed schedule. 

At the Castine Yacht Club, a skippers’ meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. The first class of boats will be notified by the first warning signal at 11. While the fleet of wooden boats make its way to Camden, the best view of the yachts can be had from the Dyce Head Lighthouse in Castine. 

The Camden Yacht Club, located in the western part of Penobscot Bay, will kick off its event with a skippers’ meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday. Then, at 11:30, the first warning signal will sound, readying the sailors for their trip to Brooklin. Catch this beautiful boat parade from the coastline in downtown Stonington. 

Lastly, in a 15-mile course best viewed from boats and kayaks, yachts will sail through the Eggemoggin Reach on Saturday. The skippers’ meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at WoodenBoat Publications in Brooklin. Beginning northwest of Torrey Castle and Torrey Ledge, the first class of yachts will sail southward at the sound of the 11 a.m. starting signal. Passing Canary Ledge and Egg Rock on their portside, the yachts will continue on their southern track until they reach Halibut Rock. Then, the yachts will turn and sail northward to complete the race.  

The winning sailors will be greeted at the finish line, marked by a buoy with a pink flag and the committee boat. An award ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday night at WoodenBoat Publications.