Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Maine Rocks Wrap Up

It was another fantastic edition of the Maine Rocks Race this year. We were never without wind and had a fast loop around the course, in fact Piper managed to beat Scott Miller's elapsed time course record by ~45 minutes on his J111, Eagles Dare. Jeroboam took another victory on corrected time, making this my 5th win on this course since the race first began in 2008, barely beating out Alessandro on Nina who is a relative new comer to the short handed scene but already posting some terrific results.

One of the really special parts of this weekend for me was at the skippers meeting Friday evening when Peter McCrea presented me with a number of awards I'd accumulated over the years but never collected. I rarely attend awards ceremonies as I'm usually busy delivering my boat back home or to the next race but Peter and Doug Pope have been kind enough to store my Maine awards since I began racing up there eight years ago. The most memorable of which was the 2007 second place trophy for the single handed division in the Downeast Challenge. There were only two entries in the single handed class that year, Peter and I, so second place means I came in last place but it was memorable for two reasons.

First, the Downeast Challenge was my first single handed race. Shawna Gauthier and I had entered the double handed division of the Beringer Bowl earlier that month, the first race I ever entered on Jeroboam, but I didn't even own a spinnaker at the time so we came in last place in fleet on elapsed time and corrected time. Luckily, we didn't take first impressions too seriously so I bought a used spinnaker and, heading to Maine anyway, decided to enter the single handed division of the Downeast Challenge.

Peter McCrea on Panacea
The second reason that race is so memorable is that was when I met Peter McCrea for the first time at the race's skippers meeting at Marblehead Yacht Club. He struck me as an old salt from whom I could learn much and he didn't disappoint. Peter had just rolled off a brilliant victory in his class at Bermuda 1-2 and suggested I check out some of the other short handed races around New England. He told me about the Newport Offshore 160, hosted by Newport Yacht Club, that was going on the following year and encouraged me to consider Bermuda 1-2 in 2009 as the Offshore 160 would serve as a qualifier. Peter continued to encourage me in 2008 when we raced together in Newport and Maine and was one of the main reasons I took on Bermuda 1-2 in 2009 which was a major milestone for me.

Doug Pope
A huge thanks to Peter for all his encouragement and to Doug for warehousing the hardware all these years. It's guys like you that make our short handed sailing community here in New England so great.

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