The Camden Classics Cup, July 25-27, 2019
About 20 miles from our office sits the picturesque town of Camden, Maine. With the Camden Hills to the west and the Penobscot Bay to the east, Camden lives up to its reputation as the “Jewel of Maine.” It is an incredible place to sail and, with full cooperation from Mother Nature, it was the perfect location for the fourth annual Camden Classics Cup.
This newer regatta on the classics circuit has the distinction of being the first classic regatta of the season. As a result, it is a reunion of sorts. These boats will be racing the same circuit together and Camden offers a welcoming atmosphere to kick things off.
The regatta drew a great mix of ages and types of boats – 70 in all – which made for a jovial mood. There was a buzz on the docks as crews mingled across some 40 boats rafted together. And in the midst of it all, we were lucky to find ourselves as part of the 12 person crew of Anna, a spirit-of-tradition yacht designed by our firm and built by Lyman-Morse.
Elegant and beautifully appointed, fun to sail and comfortable – Anna’s owners were winning before even getting to the starting line. Originally one-design sailors, her owners fell for the beauty and history of classic boats. Like most owners of this class, they commissioned us to build a beautiful boat in a classic style that realized all of the advantages of a modern built boat. They wanted something easy and enjoyable for day sailing and short cruising. Racing was definitely on the agenda just not at the top of the list. It was important to them that the boat would be stunningly beautiful first and foremost. That was achieved.
But here in Camden, Anna was here to race and race we did! With the wind at a consistent 13-16 knots and a sea chop of 1 ½ to 2’, the Camden Classics Cup offered solid racing conditions for Anna and boats in the 40’+ range. (It was a little more exciting/challenging for some of the smaller boats.)
The attitude on our boat was tremendous. Our skipper was calm and thoughtful and the crew worked well together. This convivial team spirit was tested on our second day of racing with 2:00 minutes to the start when an eagle-eye member of the crew noticed a little fray on the jib sheet. We didn’t think it was a big deal until it started sliding around the winch. When the jib was loaded up we discovered that the cover had been completely stripped off. Broken, with its core showing, there was no way the jib sheet would survive going through a tack, never mind stand up to a full day of racing and trimming. Working feverishly, we replaced the damaged line with a spare spinnaker sheet and ended up only being a minute late over the starting line. With quick maneuvering by all aboard, what could’ve been a day-ending gear failure was just a slight inconvenience. Anna finished first overall in the spirit-of-tradition class.
This was a sweet victory for Anna’s owners. Their focus has always been on participation not necessarily on winning. They felt that they had to compromise in one area to get what they wanted in another. But for SWYD, the goal in our design is always two-fold: we take advantage of what we’ve learned about handling – deck hardware, deck gear, modern advances in the rig and pair it with a refined and luxurious style. There is no compromise as Anna proved in Camden.
Most importantly, we were the first boat back to the dock on both days! This meant more time to enjoy the lovely dockside cocktail party on Friday night. Crews mingled, and as the tide went out, we walked the docks and admired the boats.
On Saturday night there was a gala held across the harbor at the Camden Yacht Club. Dinner and dancing were followed by fireworks and as the sun set, we looked back on the spectacular array of classic yachts, varnish all aglow. This event truly captures the essence of classic yachting. Thank you, Camden, it was a wonderful weekend.