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Preview: The Eggemoggin Reach Regatta Aboard VORTEX, with Steve White

September 25, 2012

It’s not often that you have over 100 world class wooden boats lined up on a starting line, a picture perfect summer day and an ocean of good will. Welcome to the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta! We’ll get you on board VORTEX for a day on the water with Steve White, the co-founder of the event to get a glimpse of some of yachting history’s luminaries.

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– The most incredible wooden boat Regatta I know of is the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, hosted by Rockport Marine and Brooklin Boatyard. There aren’t many events like this. Every boat that’s racing today is made of wood, and it’s just kind of nice to see boating history splayed out in front of you here. We’re getting out to the start line of the 2012 Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. We got you onboard Vortex, Steve White’s Swede 55, with a bunch of kids and families and so forth, and that’s really what this race is about for Steve.

– We’re gonna do as well as we can, but we’re gonna have fun. We’re not out for blood and guts and glory and all that. It’s just a fun Regatta. It’s supposed to be fun. Starts are the most fun for me. You always develop a strategy ahead of time, but you have to be able to change it 180 degrees just like that, if it’s not working out. That’s the fun part, and that’s where the crew work comes in, the guys that know the boat.

– See this Q-Boat? Look at this thing. Just a really extreme universal rule. Just a really, really cool boat right here off the port side of the bow. We’ve got a really incredible collection of fifes, Bell Avenger being one of them here. An adventurist who just came out of a refit in Rockport. Fifi, who’s a little fife eight-meter. It’s just all here. It’s not often that you get out on a start line with a hundred wooden boats, all in a gathering like this. Schooners, gaffers, performance schloops, modern wooden boats. It’s kind of the full gamut that we’re looking at here.

– The Eggemoggin Regatta was started in 1986. Frank Hall and I talked about trying to put together some kind of a Regatta for classic wooden boats, just do a day race somewhere out of Brooklin, come back with the same place, and, you know, just have a little cocktail party and see what happened. The first year, I think we had about nine or ten boats or something, and then the next year, that number doubled. Then, the third year, it doubled again, and it just kept going that way. We’ve been blessed to have a lot of great boats come from long ways away. Boats from Europe, boats from the Caribbean. We’ve had a big variety of boats, but we’ve had a real core of boats here year after year as well.

– Problem with all this: there’s like a hundred sweet boats out here today. It’s hard to catch them all, but every one of these boats is just epic.

– Tag right under one of them. I think Isobel is going to be really hard to beat today. I think Lark and Pleione are gonna be the other two. Lark, they held really well yesterday. Pretty well the day before. It’s still a new boat, so they’re still learning it. I think one of the big things about it is that it is sponsor-free. There’s no advertising that you see. We were offered that opportunity by several different companies, but made a conscious decision not to do it. When I started working at the boatyard in ’78, we were still building boats with my father, but fiberglass boat construction was considered what was happening, but I really wanted to continue to build new wooden boats. I started thinking about what kind of boat I would want to build for myself, and I wanted a boat that would be very fast, and I wanted a more modern boat that would have a fin keel and a spade rudder, but I saw this boat that was being built in production fiberglass, plus Neil Drymer’s was a very well respected designer. I built it over a two-year period of time. I launched it in 1990, and went out and campaigned it in some of these Regattas. The Eggemoggin was the first one, but I also took it down to Nantucket and Newport, and did very well in the Regattas down there. A lot of people saw the boat, talked about the boat, were impressed with the way it looked and the way it sailed. Alright, gonna come about now. You ready to come about? Alright, Lee.

– [Woman] Everybody hold on.

– Did I promise you guys a front row seat at the E.R.R. 2012? Here you go. I love my job. Ease the lazy sheet on the spinnaker. Here we go. Everyone watch yourselves. We’re just coming around the lower mark of the race, where we put up the chute. It’s deep water right up til this point here. I mean, you can see how close we are to the turning mark. We’re just getting ready to hoist the spinnaker, and have a run for wooden boat. It’s a nice run to the finish.

– [Steve] Got it, Shannon?

– [Shannon] Yep.

– [Steve] Do it; feed it out, Shannon. Ready for the jib? Hey.

– [Eric] Did you see that?

– I didn’t see it explode.

– [Eric] It exploded.

– Oh, yeah, I saw that.

– All the strings blew off it.

– That was awesome.

– Ease a little bit. Ease, ease, ease. Ease to the cross. He’s gonna heat up. There you go, right there. You gotta watch this end. When that starts to curl … There you go, right there. That’s it, kiddo. Yell to Shannon to trim when you need it, okay.

– Yep, so trim when that starts to collapse in a little bit?

– Yep, yep, and you just hold on tight, and then she can keep cranking, but if you let go, it’ll just spin on the wench, so it’s not a problem, alright?

– Trim a little bit?

– Trim.

– That’s good.

– There you go. Ease. Alright, you guys got it.

– [Eric] New and old, it’s a celebration of wood on the water. A day on the water with friends and family and yachting history. As the last boats crossed the finish line, and the charcoal was lit, the race was analyzed, and everyone was reminded of what this was really about. You may ask, who won this year’s E.R.R.? Wooden boats were the winner today. Wooden boats.



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