In 2006, a group of sail-and-oars boats gathered for an informal cruise in Maine to answer a question: could we succeed here with a large gathering of such boats, inspired by “Raids” in Europe and by the famed Eggemoggin Reach Regatta for classic yachts? The reply was an enthusiastic “yes,” and for three more years like-minded people sailed the same waters the ERR has sailed annually since 1985. This experience gave us our name—the Small Reach Regatta, and today we are organized entirely under the auspices of the Downeast Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association.
The idea of the SRR is to gather together small sail-and-oars boats for sailing, with the same kind of camaraderie and appreciation that the ERR has established. We will sail on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. This year, we may plan another optional one-way sail from Herrick Bay to the waters off the campground, where we’ll anchor, so secure anchoring ability is especially important. The next day will be a return to Herrick Bay.
We are proceeding on the assumption that the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions may allow the SRR to proceed in one form or another. We will know more by the time our final deadline comes up in March, and our core group will then decide whether to proceed. It is possible that some adjustments may need to be made — for example, our caterer could deliver meals to be picked up and taken to individual campsites instead of under the large tent as usual. Obviously, we can’t predict all nuances of the plan, but we hope we can go ahead, perhaps with this type of adjustment.
Final haulouts, trailering, and departure will take place on Sunday, July 11, vacating the campground before noon and the boatyard as soon as possible. We have established several alternative daysailing courses of between 7 and 15 nautical miles. A day’s outing may be cancelled if the weather conditions are poor. No racing is planned. Many of the boats were built of wood by their owners themselves, and some of them were even designed by their builders.
We don’t have hard-and-fast rules about boat minimum or maximum lengths, knowing that the nature of traditional small craft is highly variable. The largest boat has been 22’, and the smallest 13’. They ranged from elegant yacht-like constructions to boats inspired by workboats such as sailing dories. Generally, the boats must be able to put in to a beach and relaunch without assistance and must have oars as auxiliary propulsion.
The fleet will be based at Herrick Bay, thanks to the generosity of Cy Hannon, proprietor of Atlantic Boat. The yard has an excellent launching ramp, a good pier, quite a number of floats, ample space for trailer parking, and frontage on a large anchorage. The bay has excellent sailing access to Blue Hill Bay, Jericho Bay, Casco Passage, Eggemoggin Reach, and potentially to the eastern part of the Deer Island Thoroughfare. For the event dates, we've engaged the entire facility of a campground in Brooklin, called Oceanfront Camping at Reach Knolls, which is on Reach Road about six miles away from Atlantic Boat and can accommodate all our participants.
Catered meals will be available, but not required. The catered meals are all “opt-in”; no one is required to participate. Traditionally, we have a chowder dinner Wednesday, with grill dinners Thursday and Friday and a lobster shore dinner Saturday. Those who wish to do so may cook at the campground; the camp sites all have power hookups. Those with vegetarian diets or very specialized food requirements, should arrange their own meals or consider nearby restaurants. Brooklin’s General Store is available for basic supplies. (We’ve decided not to pursue vegetarian options.)