Annual Gosport Regatta to set sail again in June 2012

The third annual Gosport Regatta will set sail from the start line in the Piscataqua River basin on Saturday, June 9, at 11:00 a.m. Race classes include cruising, racing, and J-24, as well as a team cup for yacht clubs entering three or more boats. In 2010, Portsmouth Yacht Club took home the Oceanic Cup with the winning team of Veladare, Phat Tail, and K2. Kittery Yacht brought the cup home in 2011 under the sails of Breakaway, Brew Ha Ha, and Kuivato. 2011 individual first place honors went to Breakaway in Racing Class, Whomper in Cruising Class, and Brew Ha Ha in J24 Class.

“This race is the perfect way to introduce new-comers to Star Island,” Star Island Corporation CEO Victoria Hardy said. “It’s that chance to step on a boat and disconnect with the hectic pace of 21st century living to a much simpler time and place.” Star Island is completely self-contained and makes fresh water that is regarded as a precious resource. Meals are served family-style and shared in community. It is a place that is free of technology and slows time to an enjoyable pace. “Star Island can be an antidote to the frenetic pace of contemporary life,” said Ms. Hardy. “Following a sail race to an island suspended in the 19th century is exactly the rich experience the Gosport Regatta offers.”

The Gosport Regatta is a re-enactment of a sail race first held in 1874 and first won in 1875 by the famous yacht America captained by General Benjamin Franklin Butler of Ipswich, Massachusetts. In that day Butler was even more famous than his yacht, having served as a top-ranking general through most of the Civil War. On August 2, 1875, he had stiff competition from the Resolute under the command of Rufus Hatch, which crossed the finish line first but behind the time allowance of the America.

Hotels on both Appledore and Star were booked to capacity for the event and it is said that 500 boats competed in John Poor’s sweepstake race for the Oceanic Cup. Poor, who built the Oceanic Hotel and owned all but one of Star Island’s buildings at that time, was president of Stickney and Poor Spice Company. He leveraged his connections to promote the race and attracted friends and business acquaintances from Boston, New York, and Marblehead as well as from Seacoast New Hampshire.

Star Island Corporation was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1916 to hold and administer Star Island and its historic properties for religious, educational, and kindred purposes. From the late 1890s until 1916, Thomas Laighton and his partner, Levi Thaxter, owned and operated the hotels on Appledore and Star islands, visited by some of the most prominent artists and writers of their day. Some of the cottages on Star Island date back to the 1700s.

For information, visit the Gosport Regatta event page or call the Portsmouth office at 430-6272.