The Magic of Eggemoggin Reach

Maine’s Penobscot Bay has to be one of the finest places to sail on the East Coast in mid-summer. I know this because I grew up there and spent my summers sailing and exploring its waters. Those of you who have had the chance to sail there from July through September, I’m sure will agree with me. It’s rugged, it’s varied, and it’s remote; meaning that there are many anchorages where even in high summer you can be one of just a handful of boats quietly hanging on a secure anchor.

Penobscot Bay is the home of the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, an annual classic boat event that brings together some of the finest vessels north of New York City. Small Herreshoffs, large schooners, Friendship sloops, Aage Nielsens, countless Sparkman and Stephens designs, and of course, a fleet of beauties from the Brooklin Boat Yard; they are all present. It’s the coming together of boat builders, yachtsman, young and old, and wily Penobscot Bay natives who enjoy the opportunity to sail among the classics.  How much better can it get?!

Well, this summer our schooner Brilliant returns to Maine to participate in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta for the first time in over a decade, and she will be one of the featured schooners in the Schooner Symposium in Castine prior to the beginning of the Regatta. A number of good friends of the Museum will have the opportunity to sail onboard Brilliant, including yours truly, and I have to say that it is a homecoming of sorts that I have looked forward to all summer. As a younger man I had seen Brilliant on Penobscot Bay, and for those of us who enjoy that kind of vessel, the idea of sometime having the chance to sail on her on those special waters was perhaps a dream that might well go unrealized. To have that chance this summer and to bring her in to the docks of the Camden Yacht Club, my former home so to speak, is special indeed.  By the time this newsletter is shared with the public, the Regatta will be wrapping up with the final race having been sailed on Saturday, August 1. That race departs Eggemoggin Reach in an easterly direction to enter Jericho Bay on the east side of Deer Isle, which separates Jericho Bay from Penobscot Bay. The race is typically a beautiful parade of 100 or so sailing craft that make their way south to Halibut Rocks and then to return to Brooklin. It is a spectacular conclusion to three days of sailing which includes passage through the charming, but difficult, Stonington (Maine) thoroughfare.

The Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, whether one is a spectator or a participant, celebrates the spirit of traditional vessels in an environment that is most suited for the form of the old, traditional, wooden boat. We are hosted by Castine Yacht Club, Camden Yacht Club, Rockport Marine, Brooklin Boat Yard, and WoodenBoat Magazine. All celebrate maritime heritage in their own way, and all have been an integral part of the renaissance of traditional boats. Brilliant will no doubt be one of many stars present, and we will fly the Mystic Seaport flag with great pride as will several other vessels in attendance.  Perhaps someday you too will be lucky enough to be in Penobscot Bay, Eggemoggin Reach, or Jericho Bay at the end of July. I highly recommend it!

Steve White