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Holly Paterson on the 2022 Camden Classic Cup

by David Schmidt 26 Jul 2022 08:00 PDT July 28-30, 2022
Racecourse action at the Camden Classic Cup © Alison Langley

Few sights are finer than a racecourse populated by classic lines, hand-hewn wooden hulls, and rigs and sails that whisper of a different era in American yachting. Add in a shoreline comprised of rocky granite outcroppings, evergreen-clad hillsides, and more than a few lobster pots (ahem), and one has all the makings of a fantastic New England event. The Camden Classic Cup (July 28-30) offers all of these optics, and it smartly supplements this classic Maine aesthetic with several classes of more modern cruising yachts.

As its name portends, the Camden Classic Cup, which will be celebrating its sixth edition, will unfurl on the waters off of Camden, Maine (West Penobscot Bay, to be more precise) and is being presented by Lyman-Morse, while Stephen Waring Yacht Design is sponsoring dockage. The regatta will feature four classic-yacht classes, a daysailer class, J/42 and J/46 classes, an ocean-racing class, a PHRF-spinnaker class, and a PHRF-cruising class.

Visiting sailors will get to enjoy the hospitality of Lyman-Morse’s facilities, and they can also explore the beautiful coastal town of Camden. The event promises two days of racing, plus the opportunity to observe some of the prettiest yachts in North America. I checked in with Holly Paterson, event director of the 2022 Camden Classic Cup, via email, to learn more about this exciting classic- and modern-yacht regatta.

Can you please tell us a bit about the Camden Classics Cup, its history and culture, and the kinds of yachts and sailors that one can expect to find here?

Ten years ago, the Penobscot bay rendezvous was started with Wayfarer Marine. When Lyman bought Wayfarer Marine in 2015, we brought it all in house and it became the Camden Classics Cup focusing on classics in our area and tying in with other regattas including The Shipyard Cup, Eggemoggin Reach and The Castine Classic Yacht Race.

The first [year] we had 35 boats and it has grown since then to 97 boats subscribed for 2022.

The event is meant to be a celebration of vintage and classic yachts for the sailors and the surrounding community. All proceeds of the event go to LifeFlight Maine, Maine's only statewide critical-care medical service.

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

Interest in the event grows each year with more entries and sponsorship. This year we have added some international and national brand sponsors.

How many boats are you expecting on the starting line(s)? Also, how many classes do you and the other event organizers plan to score?

We currently have 97 boats on the scratch sheet and 11 classes. We also have a Concordia Class Trophy, Stephens Waring Spirit of Tradition, and a Yacht Club Challenge.

Our Youth regatta is on July 29 and we are expecting 50 sailors for this event [who will be competing in] 420s and Optis.

Generally speaking, what kinds of conditions can sailors expect off of Camden, Maine, and on West Penobscot Bay in late July?

Penobscot Bay often provides a fresh seabreeze from the S to SW. Building in the late-morning, [wind] strength is often 12-16 knots with two-to-three foot seas.

There is also the chance of a fresh northwesterly breeze after a cold front has pushed through. The locals relish these days of brisk wind and flat water in the bay.

Then again there is the possibility of the dreaded fog bank….but let’s not dwell on this condition.

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

The larger Vintage, Classic, SOT, PHRF and Ocean Class typically sail one race a day, with a true windward leg then head off across the bay on a navigation racecourse around government marks and/or islands.

The race committee tries to configure course length to get the entire fleet finished very closely and in time for the renowned parties.

The Daysailer fleet will sail multiple short courses keeping closer to Camden Harbor.

This year there will two starting areas with one race committee for the larger yachts and another RC for the growing Daysailer fleet.

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

The big change for 2022 is the new Lyman-Morse facility on the Camden waterfront that will be the hub of all activities. There is an amazing new board walk overlooking the docks, crew accommodations, service offices, Salt Wharf restaurant and Barrens Restaurant and distillery. We can't wait to show it off.

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

Thursday is kicked off with an Owners and Captain reception during registration featuring champagne and caviar, and Friday night we have a cocktail party on the boardwalk. The big night is Saturday with the awards presentation and party with live music, food, and cocktails.

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

We are very much looking forward to welcoming this amazing fleet of boats to Lyman-Morse Camden and supporting LifeFlight of Maine.

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