Maine homecoming draws friendship

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Folks in Rockland, Maine, this summer had the opportunity to see a fleet of Friendship sloops dotting the waters of the harbor. From July 25 through 29, members of the Friendship Sloop Society sailed their cherished vessels there for the society’s 45th annual Homecoming Rendezvous and Regatta.

Folks in Rockland, Maine, this summer had the opportunity to see a fleet of Friendship sloops dotting the waters of the harbor. From July 25 through 29, members of the Friendship Sloop Society sailed their cherished vessels there for the society’s 45th annual Homecoming Rendezvous and Regatta.

Although society member attendance was down, they say the event was still a success.

“Somewhere between 12 and 15 sloops showed up for the homecoming, and about 10 of those raced in the regatta,” says Miff Lauriat, a member of the Friendship Sloop Society. Lauriat and other members originally expected between 20 and 30 sloops to attend. “Despite the disappointing turnout, everyone had a fun time and we had three good days of racing.”

Lauriat attributes the modest turnout to society members having scheduling difficulties. “I think a lot of people had family emergencies and things like that,” he says. “One person broke a leg while hiking and couldn’t make it. Another person’s children had sports requirements. The list of reasons goes on. But, like I said, we all had a lot of fun, enjoyed seeing everyone’s boats and liked the competition.”

From July 26 through 28, the society held friendly three- to 10-mile races in Rockland Harbor, and the winners received awards at a ceremony held on the final afternoon. Lauriat, who owns Salatia, a 25-foot 1969 Pemaquid, took home the State of Maine Trophy for the best time overall. “For me, personally, the regatta was great since I won the whole kit and kaboodle,” Lauriat says.

Society members also handed out a number of “specialty” awards. Among them were the Cy Hamilton Trophy, awarded to Matthew and Nancy McConnel and their boat, Down East, for having returned to the homecoming after an absence of several years; the Danforth Trophy given to Gladiator, owned by Bill and Caroline Zuber, for having finished in the middle of the fleet; and the Stanely Cup awarded to Sara Beck for taking exceptional care of her sloop, Flying Jib.

In addition to the racing and awards, society members sailed 25 miles from Rockland to Friendship, Maine, where they paraded their sloops through the harbor. “We like to sail close to the docks so the people watching can get a really good look at the boats,” Lauriat explains. “This year, I’d say there were more than 50 people lined up watching the parade.

“These boats resemble some of the early lobster boats that worked the coast of Maine years and years ago,” he continues. “The parade is a good chance for people to see old, gaff-rigged sailboats that have a lot of history.”

Lauriat says he’s looking forward to next year’s Homecoming and Regatta, and hopes more society members and their boats can make it.

“Some of the people missing this year were the real bedrock attendees,” he says. “I plan on calling each member next year to urge them all to come. I expect next year will be a good year.”