With all the chat about this winter’s NEIYA Vintage Gathering, here’s a little something.
A few years ago, on an early season tip from Lee Spiller, we sailed Lake Cobbosseecontee. The lake is nine miles long, wide in some places but basically long and skinny, located near Augusta. There is a launch ramp at the very south end and another at the north end so either way, you need to sail the entire length of the lake. On a northwest wind it’s a close beat northbound. Bill Bunting may know better, but to our knowledge the club had never sailed Cobbosee, as it’s known locally.
On this particular day a few boats had shown up, eager for early black ice. The plate was covered in little frost flowers and there wasn’t a breath of wind. But just as the last boat rolled down the ramp and began to set up, the breeze filled in nicely and the fleet set out. Tack on tack we beat north until we began to feel the wind lighten. There were still a few miles to go, but it became a game of chicken: who was going to be the sensible one to turn back first?
At each tack crossing we’d look at each other, shrug the shoulders and waited to see who’d blink first.
And when that common sense sailor, whoever it was, bore away for the run back we all joined in at full throttle.
Later that same year we got a call from an elderly gentleman who lived at the north end of the lake, offering his old stern steerer to a good home. The boat had been at Cobbosee since his father’s time, which brings us to the point of the story and the squaring of the circle, so to speak.
Could our stern steerer have taken part in this regatta? Paul D’Orsay now has the boat and sails it actively. Like Bunting, he’s quite the historian so we leave it to him to track down this handsome trophy.
Thanks to Henry Bosset for sending in the clipping.
Fall meetings and Swap Meet 10/29 -30!
Oh, dear! A gauntlet thrown down and a Holy Grail to seek. Will add it to my list.