Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 22, 2013
Breeze kicks in late for Retired Skippers Race
Light wind forces delay, shorter course
Payah Kun takes first place, skippered by Admiral Ted Rodgers of Orland, who took home the Rodgers Cup in the Retired Skippers Race on August 17.
by Anne Berleant
For the second year running, the Maine Retired Skippers Race was caught short by light wind. The delayed start and shortened course didn’t stop Payah Kun, helmed by Adm. Ted Rodgers of Orland—at 96 the oldest skipper in the race—to finish first, besting his 2012 second-place finish and bringing home the Henry Whitney Challenge Cup. Maine Maritime Academy, as owner of the boat, received the Gitina/Day Trophy.
Falcon, skippered by John Gardner of Castine, came in 12 minutes behind to take second, edging Cats Paw, skippered by Butch Minson of Castine, by a margin of 33 seconds.
Twenty-seven schooners, yawls, ketches, sloops and other sailing vessels patiently circled the Castine Harbor Bell on Saturday, August 17, for over two hours, waiting for the committee to hoist the course flag, signaling skippers that the race would start in 15 minutes.
Eleven boats withdrew, starting with Red Alert at 1:45 p.m. and ending with Balsam at 2:55 p.m.
“For the guys who had patience, there was a reward,” said Jim Raber, race committee chairman.
At 3 p.m., the committee was still discussing a postponement or declaring “the last boat left is the winner,” said committee member Jon Johanson. And then, finally enough of a northwesterly breeze kicked in for Raber to call the two-leg race, after rapidly calculating start times for the remaining vessels.
The 63rd annual Maine Retired Skippers Race requires that skippers be at least 65 years of age and at the helm the first and last legs of the race course, which traditionally runs five legs from the bell buoy with marks off Turtle Head and Isleboro Ledge.
On Saturday, two legs—to Isleboro Ledge and back—was the race course.
As usual in past years, Alamar, the slowest handicapped boat, was the first to pass the bell buoy, and Payah Kun, the fastest handicapped boat, the last. By then, there was a definite wind, and a string of full sails could be seen in the distance, heading for the Isleboro Ledge.
For results click here.