Good morning everyone. This is our Great Schooner Race cruise week. Monday we "tuned up" with the rest of fleet tearing up and down the West Bay in a beautiful northwest wind. A few small squalls passed through so topsails were alternately set and doused as conditions dictated. The crew got a real work out. We sailed 40 miles by days end and anchored up with the rest of the fleet a mere 6 miles from Camden. Just crazy!
Tuesday was Race Day. The course was planned to carry us north around Isleboro and then back to the southward to the finish line at the head of Cape Rosier. The smaller Coaster class had the first gun at 1015. The Leeward and Windward classes sailed together across the line at 1025 and had an extra leg that added about 5 miles onto the Coaster course. By starting time the northwest wind had pretty much died and the drift was on. Just after lunch the wind came onshore and away we went.
Mary Day managed to ghost along with most of the fleet almost catching the Coasters by the first mark. They headed off for their second mark while we continued down wind with a comfortable lead on the rest of the Leeward and Windward classes. The schooner Heritage made a real run at us as we closed on the second mark. Rounding the second mark we came hard on the wind and began the long tacking duel to weather. A few lifts in the wind along the shore gave us the ability to keep the weather gage. We even managed to catch a few of the Coasters. The schooner American Eagle was flying along close on our heels. One exciting moment in the day was our close tacking encounter with the slippery Lewis R French. Their bowsprit wasn't a boat length astern of us as we tacked ahead of them.
In the end, we never did catch the Overall Winner, Grace Bailey. She finished neck and neck with the Stephen Taber, in what looked like a amazing tacking duel to the finish. We were several minutes behind the first boats but several minutes ahead of the rest of the fleet to take third place overall and first in class. With a few lucky breaks Mary Day performed admirably, a reflection of her crew and passengers who worked diligently to keep her trim through the six hour race. We shall keep the trophy polished for another year. The Americas Cup has nothing on the Great Schooner Race.
We had our celebratory picnic on the beach yesterday and are anchored this morning in a tight little tickle between two lovely islands. Last night's rain has moved off, replaced by light fog that promises to lift as the day goes on.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good. PS. Thanks Lois for the wonderful team bandanas! They came in handy after all & brought us the luck to keep the cup! Go Blue Team!