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SUMURUN LEADS FIFE FLEET IN CASTINE CLASSIC RACE
Castine, Me. – Sumurun, a 94-foot ketch designed and built in Scotland in 1914 by William Fife, led the Fife fleet in the 13th annual Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden. Sumurun was skippered by Robert Towbin and bested the 64-foot Fife ketch Belle Aventure skippered by David Thompson and the 82-foot Fife schooner Adventuress skippered by Victor Janovich.
This year’s Castine Classic race celebrated the beauty, design and speed of the early 20th-century designer William Fife III. This event follows on from last year’s celebration of Nathanael Herreshoff. The Herreshoff yachts from Bristol, Rhode Island, and the Fife yachts from the small town of Fairlie on the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, were fierce competitors on both sides of the Atlantic.
In this year’s race, the Fife and Herreshoff yachts raced in the same class to continue the rivalry. Spartan, a 72-foot NY-50 designed and built by Herreshoff in 1912 and skippered by Victor Paul, emerged victorious in the class. Spartan also won last year’s Castine Classic race.
Prior to the race, the historic Fife yachts were on exhibition at the Castine Town Dock and were honored at a symposium at the Maine Maritime Academy. The large crowd attending the symposium heard from speakers illuminating the finer details of the design, construction, and sailing qualities of these boats. Taylor Allen of Rockport Marine chaired the discussion of a panel of restorers, historians and sailors of Fife yachts. Rockport Marine, Rockport, Maine, recently completed a 3-year restoration of Adventuress.
The Castine event kicked off three days of classic boat racing culminating in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta.
After a delayed start due to a lack of visibility, the fleet set sail from the Castine harbor bell on a 19.6nm course designed to end in Camden. The six classes started in a very light southerly breeze, which shortly died. The course became fog-shrouded and the race committee was forced to shorten the course. Most of the boats were able to finish, except for those in the smallest class.
In the Spirit of Tradition class, the 75’ sloop Isobel designed by Stephens Waring & White took honors. Isobel, skippered by Richard Schotte, beat Pleione by 7 minutes. Pleione is a Taylor 8 Meter sailed by Bruce Dyson. Lark, a newly launched 47’ sloop sailed by Patrick Wilmerding, took third.
Siren, a Sparkman & Stephens NY 32 skippered by Peter Cassidy, led the Classic A fleet. Siren edged out Falcon, another NY 32, sailed by Bob Scott by less than 2 minutes. Gentian, also a NY 32, sailed by Robert Armstrong, took third.
Rogue, a 37’ Herreshoff sailed by Seville Simonds, took first place in the Classic B fleet. Second place went to Thora, Vince Todd’s Little Harbor 36. Fidelio, a Sparkman & Stephens designed sister ship of the famed Finistere, took third. Fidelio was skippered by Charles Townsend.
In the Concordia fleet, the winner was the 41’ Otter skippered by Robert Keefer. Second place went to Mandala, a Concordia 39 sailed by Terry Fisher. Ann Ashton sailed Phalarope, another Concordia 39, to a third-place finish.
None of the Classic C yachts were able to complete the course.
At the award ceremony at the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin following the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, David Bicks, co-chair of the Castine events, presented the Ames Cup to Peter Cassidy, skipper of Siren. The Ames Cup, awarded to the overall winner of the race, honors the memory of Richard Glover Ames and Henry Russell Ames who were lost at sea on June 9, 1935 south of the Grand Banks in an unsuccessful effort to save their father who was washed overboard during the Newport to Bergen, Norway yacht race. The Ames family hailed from Castine.
Siren also won both the Sparkman & Stephens trophy, awarded to the S&S boat with the lowest corrected time and the Mitch Gibbons-Neff trophy. Bob Scott, the Castine event co-chair, presented the NY 32 trophy in memory of Mitch Gibbons-Neff, late head of S&S who regularly crewed on Scott’s NY 32 Falcon.
The Phalarope trophy, awarded to the top Concordia yacht in memory of Thomas G Ashton Sr, was presented to Robert Keefer of Otter.