BHYC Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge

Perfect sailing conditions provides exciting races

Mon, 07/24/2023 - 2:45pm

    The 49th Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club (BHYC) Regatta and Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge fleets provided a breathtaking scene Saturday and Sunday.

    There were over 60 classic and modern racing boats sailing on two courses between Spruce Point and Squirrel Island with the second course in the outer bay. Saturday was an interesting day with fog moving in and out repeatedly while Sunday provided spectacular conditions for racing, with clear blue skies across Boothbay.

    With moderate breezes and foggy conditions, day one still provided challenging but enjoyable racing conditions for the fleets and a remarkable sight for dozens of spectator boats out on the water. Weather on Day Two, Sunday, was moderate at the start and built to a consistent breeze in the 11-13 knot range with occasional higher gusts around islands which created challenging conditions for racers.

    The BHYC Regatta has been run since 1974. This was the third season for The Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge which features classic yachts and pays homage to the immensely popular Shipyard Cup superyacht races that were sponsored by Hodgdon Yachts and a staple for both the sailing and local communities in Boothbay Harbor for over a decade. Hodgdon continues as a major sponsor along with Bristol Marine’s Boothbay Shipyard and The First Bank.

    Classic racers competing in the Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge ranged in size from the historic 21-foot Boothbay Harbor One Designs to Zemphera, a 76-foot racing yacht. The long list of yachts included several well-known older vessels like Gleam, a 12-meter trial horse for the America’s Cup built in 1937; Marilee, a NY40 designed by the legendary Nat Herreshoff and built in 1926; classic day sailors, Uncas, Besherte and Ponyo, and several schooners. The schooner division continues to grow with Spirit, Arrluuk and Lion’s Whelp all finishing with awards in their class. There were a number of other unique and beautiful vessels.

    The BHYC Regatta also included a large cadre of PHRF racers, a mainstay of the Regatta for years. This year’s fleet included seven Vipers, “New boats to the regatta were plentiful this year so it was great to see all the new faces,” said Event Co-chair Charlie Willauer, who went on to say. “Based on a very successful event in 2022 the sailing community responded strongly to participate in a not-to miss regatta this year”.

    Racing took place in two fleets, each featuring classic and modern racers. The larger, faster boats raced a navigator course outside Squirrel Island. Smaller boats raced in the outer harbor inside Squirrel Island. With 10 Division Champion trophies and 7 perpetual trophies at stake, sailing skills and teamwork were tested, and competition was fierce.

    One of the most unique match races battles was between two Buzzards Bay 18s, Besherte owned by Josh Goldberg of New York City and Uncas owned by Jim Newton of Southport. They are modern rebuilds of the classic Herreshoff design and as far as the two skippers could discern, it was only the third time the two Buzzards Bay 18s had faced off in decades. Uncas won the first place between the boats, and both owners were thrilled to have raced against their sister ship.

    Competitors ranged in age from 16 to eighty with a large contingent of local youth sailors from BHYC . The youth team trophy (all sailors under 21) was won by Arden Carleton in Wide Spread Panic, while Toby Clarkson won the Pea Pod trophy, which recognizes a smaller keel boat which through a combination of performance, sportsmanship and other action enhances the enjoyment of sailboat racing.

    The winner of the Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge was Spirit, Alden Schooner, skippered by Lars Forsberg, with the best overall performance. The Apparition Trophy for overall PHRF/One Design winner went to Patrick Mailloux racing the J105 Wolverine. Carol Sewall sailing her beloved BHOD, Sea Fever, won the Hardalee Trophy and first place in the BHOD fleet. Nat Wilson presented Nathaniel S. Wilson Sailmaker Trophy to Ponyo. This is awarded to the yacht which demonstrates the preservation and continuation of classic yachting. “Ponyo represents the best in preservation of classic yachting” said Nat. Ponyo is a 28-foot Camden Class sloop built by the owner.

    Skippers and crew had sung high praises for the weekend pointing particularly to how professionally the races were run and how welcome both local and visiting yacht folks felt. Many comments were made, such as “this is the finest regatta on the Maine coast, I will be back and will convince others who could not make it this year to come to Boothbay Harbor in 2024.”

    The weekend also featured a dock party at Bristol Marine’s Boothbay Harbor Shipyard after the first day of racing. Over 550 skippers, crew and guests mingled, enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres catered by Mine Oyster, while comparing notes about their boats, swapping stories about the day’s competition, watching the fantastic drone video and still camera shots taken during the day while bragging about their expectations for the second day of racing!

    Another highlight of the weekend was the “Parade of Sail” held Sunday morning where over 40 magnificent vessels from the fleets circled through the inner harbor giving the local community an up close and personal look. Jack and Alex Herger along with a group of volunteers herded the boats into a “chorus line” and did a great job presenting a wonderful parade of modern and traditional yachts. The boats paraded through the harbor led by Grand Marshal David Nutt aboard the beautifully restored 84’ Trumpy motor yacht, Wishing Star, skippered by Jeff Lowell and owned by Andy Tyska of Bristol Marine. Sharon Goldhirsch re-counted the history of each yacht along with notable tidbits as they passed Whale Park. Parade viewers seemed to be on every deck, dock, lawn, and other viewing locations around the inner harbor. Great weather, and beautiful vessels have universal appeal.

    Event Co-chair Bob Scribner stated that “60+ volunteers worked long hours before and during the event to execute the two-day event.” He specifically thanked lead sponsors Hodgdon Yachts, Bristol Marine’s Boothbay Harbor Shipyard and The First Bank. Other key sponsors include Bangor Savings Bank, Boothbay Harbor Oceanside golf Resort, Carousel Marina, Charleston Tours & Events, Robinson’s Wharf, J. Edward Knight Insurance, the Southport General Store, and Water Street Kitchen & Bar, along with the 37 other sponsors whose support made the event one to remember. He also thanked the Register for helping spread the word and Harbor Master for leading the parade through the harbor.

    For a list of participating boats, pictures of the action, and a breakdown of division trophy and award winners, visit The beautiful drone footage was taken by Austin Maurer, was shot by videographers, along with many photos of the participating yachts and can be viewed on the website ( You can also see more on Facebook BoothbayRegatta.