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News Feature

Originally published in Compass, July 26, 2012
Yacht regatta to celebrate Fife designs

36’ sloop Alana

Alana – 36’ sloop Alana at 6-meter World Cup Race.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Rodes

This year’s Castine Classic Yacht Regatta, sponsored by the Castine Yacht Club, will celebrate the beauty, design and speed of the early-20th-century yachts by the famed British designer and builder, William Fife III. On August 1, a remarkable rendezvous of Fife yachts will be on exhibition at the Castine Town Dock, including the 94-foot ketch Belle Aventure (built in 1929), 94-foot ketch Sumurun (1914), 83-foot topsail schooner Adventuress (1924), 40-foot sloop Fifi (1921) and the 36-foot, 6-meter sloop Alana (1930). The Castine event will represent the most significant gathering of Fife yachts ever assembled on this side of the Atlantic, according to its organizers.

This event follows last year’s Castine celebration of Nathanael Herreshoff yachts, which was hailed by Halsey Herreshoff as “the greatest collection of Herreshoff yachts in modern history,” according to a news release. The Herreshoff yachts from Bristol, R.I., 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. They were regarded as leading designs of their era. “Fife yachts have long been esteemed as among the most beautiful in the world,” according to a recently published commentary by designer Art Paine (Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors, Winter 2012).

The Fife yachts will be honored at a symposium on August 1 at 4 p.m. in Delano Auditorium at the Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. The symposium will review the design, construction and sailing qualities of these historic yachts. Taylor Allen of Rockport Marine will chair the discussion among the panel of restorers, historians and sailors of Fife yachts from both sides of the Atlantic. Rockport Marine is now completing a multi-year restoration of Adventuress.

The thirteenth annual Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden will set sail from the Castine harbor bell at 11:30 a.m. on August 2. This 20-nautical-mile race, which feeds into the Camden to Brooklin race and the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, is expected to attract a magnificent fleet of Classic and Spirit of Tradition yachts, according to David Bicks and Bob Scott, chairmen of these Castine events. Race notice/entry form and sailing instructions are available online at