Good morning everyone. This is our Great Schooner Race cruise week.
Monday we "tuned up" with the rest of fleet tearing up and down the
West Bay in a beautiful northwest wind. A few small squalls passed
through so topsails were alternately set and doused as conditions
dictated. The crew got a real work out. We sailed 40 miles by days
end and anchored up with the rest of the fleet a mere 6 miles from
Camden. Just crazy!
Tuesday was Race Day. The course was planned to carry us north
around Isleboro and then back to the southward to the finish line at
the head of Cape Rosier. The smaller Coaster class had the first gun
at 1015. The Leeward and Windward classes sailed together across the
line at 1025 and had an extra leg that added about 5 miles onto the
Coaster course. By starting time the northwest wind had pretty much
died and the drift was on. Just after lunch the wind came onshore
and away we went.
Mary Day managed to ghost along with most of the fleet almost
catching the Coasters by the first mark. They headed off for their
second mark while we continued down wind with a comfortable lead on
the rest of the Leeward and Windward classes. The schooner Heritage
made a real run at us as we closed on the second mark. Rounding the
second mark we came hard on the wind and began the long tacking duel
to weather. A few lifts in the wind along the shore gave us the
ability to keep the weather gage. We even managed to catch a few of
the Coasters. The schooner American Eagle was flying along close on
our heels. One exciting moment in the day was our close tacking
encounter with the slippery Lewis R French. Their bowsprit wasn't a
boat length astern of us as we tacked ahead of them.
In the end, we never did catch the Overall Winner, Grace Bailey. She
finished neck and neck with the Stephen Taber, in what looked like a
amazing tacking duel to the finish. We were several minutes behind
the first boats but several minutes ahead of the rest of the fleet to
take third place overall and first in class. With a few lucky breaks
Mary Day performed admirably, a reflection of her crew and passengers
who worked diligently to keep her trim through the six hour race. We
shall keep the trophy polished for another year. The Americas Cup has
nothing on the Great Schooner Race.
We had our celebratory picnic on the beach yesterday and are anchored
this morning in a tight little tickle between two lovely islands.
Last night's rain has moved off, replaced by light fog that promises
to lift as the day goes on.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.
PS. Thanks Lois for the wonderful team bandanas! They came in handy after all & brought us the luck to keep the cup! Go Blue Team!