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Bob Scribner on the 2022 Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge

by David Schmidt 20 Jul 2022 08:00 PDT July 22-24, 2022

Few East Coast venues offer finer sailing in the summer months than the state of Maine, which is aptly nicknamed “Vacationland”. The heat and the deciduous trees of southern New England generally give way to the evergreen forests and cooler breezes of the nation’s northeastern-most state, and Maine’s geography features myriad islands scattered along its jagged coastline like evergreen-cloaked jewels.

Better still, the state regularly draws many cruising and racing sailors who come to enjoy the stunning scenery and participate in regattas including the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge, which is being organized by the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club (July 22-24).

This event is open to a wide range of boats, ranging from sporty One Designs such as Viper 640s and J/80s to time-honored classics designed by the likes of Sparkman & Stephens.

To say that there’s something for sailors of all stripes at the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge seems as fitting as the tagline on Maine’s license plates. I checked in with Bob Scribner, co-event chair of the 2022 Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge, via email, to learn more about this exciting Downeast regatta.

Can you please tell us a bit about the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge, its history and culture, and the kinds of yachts and sailors that one can expect to find here?

This is the 48th running of the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Regatta, [making it] one of the longest running regattas in Maine.

Starting in 2021, the Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge was added to the regatta, picking up on the successful Shipyard Cup Regatta for superyachts’ that ran for over a decade ending in 2014.

With the increasing popularity of classic-yacht racing in Maine and the Northeast, this was a terrific addition for both competitors and spectators from the community.

What kinds of numbers and interest levels are you seeing ahead of the 2022 regatta compared with previous editions?

We are in a similar place as were last year at this time with over 30 boats signed-up, [so we are] on our way to 60-plus boats [on the water].

What kinds of boats are you expecting on the starting line(s)?

There will be PHRF divisions both racing and cruising, with PHRF-rated boats ranging up to 45 feet, CRF classic divisions (vintage, classic and spirit of tradition) ranging in size up to 76 feet, and one design fleets: J/80s, Vipers and Boothbay Harbor One Designs.

Some of the well-known classics who will be attending include vintage classics Dorade, Gleam (12 Meter), Black Watch (S&S), Marilee (NY 40), and spirit of tradition Zemphira.

There will also be a couple of schooners including the Alden schooner Blackbird.

What kinds of on-the-water racing can attending skippers and crews look forward to? Are we talking about mostly windward-leeward racing, or will you also run races that use the islands as turning marks?

Racing for the bigger boats will be courses set in outer Booth Bay, using landmarks islands and navigation marks.

For the smaller One Design boats there will be a combination of W-L and navigation courses closer to the inner harbor.

Are there any new additions or important changes to the 2022 regatta, compared to previous editions?

The substantial change was in 2021 with the addition of the Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge.

This year a owners/skipper’s BBQ at Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club has been added on Friday night, which compliments the phenomenally successful reception held on Saturday night held at Bristol Marine’s Shipyard at Boothbay Harbor. Bristol Marine’s venue also allows many of the classics to be viewed [while they are] docked.

Is it challenging to organize an event that involves everting from wooden classics to modern GRP/carbon-fiber yachts with asymmetric spinnakers? If so, can you please tell us about those challenges and how you overcome negotiate them?

Yes, it is more complex running a regatta under different ratings systems for boats with different racing characteristics.

We found that careful planning and top-notch PRO talent (Hank Stuart is returning this year to run the line for the larger boats) made it work well. We separate the yachts by speed and rating system, which goes a long way to adapting to the diverse types of boats.

CRF-rated boats have separate divisions from PHRF boats and One Designs. The larger boats share the same starting line and course alternatives, so they get the same experience but do not interfere very much with each other as we follow the norm of faster fleets starting first.

What about onshore entertainment? What can sailors look forward to once the finishing guns have gone silent each day?

In addition to the Friday evening skipper BBQ [and] the Saturday evening post-racing reception, there is the awards ceremony/reception at BHYC after racing on Sunday afternoon.

Locally, some of our sponsors offer entertainment venues a short walk away.

Can you please tell us about any efforts that the club has made over the last year or two to further green-up the regatta and make it an even more sustainable event?

We are very conscious of the need to make racing more sustainable.

Last year we had water[bottle]-filling stations to help limit the use of single-use containers. The stations were provided by a sponsor called OpBox, [which] makes modular units made from 100% recycled PET plastics. They will be back this year.

Our skippers bag this year are multi-use (not single-use) bags that are also made from 100% recycled plastic.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?

The Boothbay Harbor area has a long tradition of yachting and shipbuilding (hundreds of years of shipbuilding history). Bringing classics into the fold of the longstanding BHYC regatta helps to connect with this maritime legacy.

We added a “Parade of Sail” through the inner harbor last year, which we will repeat again this year. This was popular with the community, and [it] helps to make it easier for land-based spectators to see the yachts up close.

We are also helping promote the “New England Wooden Preservation Foundation” as they seek to preserve the boat-building skills and aid in maintaining classic wooden-boat designs.

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