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Castine celebrates S&S 75th anniversary

The first week of August the Castine, Maine, marine community marked the 75th Anniversary of the renowned yacht designers Sparkman & Stephens with a series of events.

S&S was founded by Olin Stephens, who is widely considered to be the premiere yacht designer of the 20th century. Stephens, now 96, participated in the festivities.

The events included a 175-mile race from Cape Cod to Castine, a symposium attracting leading designers, match racing of S&S yachts and the Fifth Annual Castine Classic Yacht Race to Camden.

Nine yachts, almost all of S&S design, and some dating back as far as 1936, set sail to Castine at 10 a.m. July 31. They started at the eastern end of the Cape Cod Canal in a 15-knot southwest breeze, which built to 30 knots during the night. The fleet encountered 6-to-8-foot seas on the downwind sleigh ride across the Gulf of Maine to Monhegan Island and then up Penobscot Bay.

Valiant, a 64-foot 12-Meter America’s Cup yacht, designed by S&S in 1970, scooted across the Castine finish line first in 18 hours and 40 minutes.

Valiant was skippered by Gary Gregory of Marblehead. She lost on corrected time to two New York 32s designed by S&S in 1936: Falcon, skippered by Bob Scott of Castine, and Siren, with Peter Cassidy of Marion, Mass., at the helm. Falcon won the race and was awarded the coveted Sparkman & Stephens Cup.