On the Island

Gosport Regatta to launch Seacoast sailing season

Piscataqua Sailing Association Commodore James McCarthy is looking forward to a captivating race to launch the summer season as the co-host of the third annual Gosport Regatta.

“We are very excited to work with Star Island to put on a first class race that many regard as the kickoff to the sailing season on the New Hampshire Seacoast,” McCarthy said. “We also have many other events over the course of the summer.”

McCarthy and the regatta committee begin preparations for the Gosport Regatta right after the previous years’ race. The process begins with debrief to determine what went right, not so well, and gather suggestions for how to improve the racing for next year. “Our goal is to work continuously to provide the best racing as well as the best spectator experience possible,” McCarthy said.

PSA’s focus is to promote recreational sail racing in the New Hampshire Seacoast region. “Our charter is simple,” says McCarthy, “to expand awareness and participation in sailing, and the exciting sport of adult and youth competitive sailboat racing.”

The PSA is made up by a diverse group of sailors all interested in the sport of racing. “We welcome boat owners that would like to race with us as well as individuals interested in crewing on other people’s boats,” said McCarthy. “No matter what your experience level is, if you are interested in sailboat racing, PSA is a great place to start.”

PSA offers the opportunity to race on larger boats on Tuesday evenings with the PHRF Fleet. On Wednesday’s, PSA hosts laser races starting from Rye Harbor. The club also offers seven weekend races including an overnight Regatta, providing quality racing throughout the summer. “If you don’t own a boat and want to participate, please contact us through our website and we will coordinate with captains looking for crew,” McCarthy said.

The PSA promotes and coordinates competitive yacht racing through inter-club activities; youth activities; safe boating initiatives in partnership with U.S. Power Squadron, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and others, and works to improve boating facilities in the Piscataqua River Region with government and private organizations.

In addition, there are several programs to engage children in sailing. The Kittery Point Yacht Club, UNH Community Sailing Centre, and Agamenticus Yacht Club all offer high-level programs for youth sailing.

For more information, visit www.sailpsa.org.

Behind the Scenes at PSA

In addition to PSA Commodore James McCarthy, several members of the PSA provide an integral role in the Gosport Regatta planning process.

Michael Thiel: Thiel is the ‘voice’ of the Regatta. From his perch on the M/V Thomas Laighton Thiel can be heard regaling the crowd with blow by blow action at the start and along the course. He is famous for telling stories about various boats and their captains. Thiel draws on his extensive yachtsman’s experience to keep everybody informed about what is happening on the course.

John ‘Bud’ Myles: Myles is the Race Chair for the Gosport Regatta, providing several potential courses out to Star Island. The course that is ultimately selected depends on the weather of course. Wave heights, wind direction, wind strength, and desired finish times all get factored in to provide the most exciting race in the current conditions. Myles grew up around boats and has extensive racing experience, both ‘around the buoys’ and also has several major offshore races under his belt.

Tom Brown: Brown is the PRO (Principal Race Officer). You will find Brown on the committee boat, and you’ll hear him ordering flags up and down, keeping the countdown, and announcing which fleet of boats will be in the next starting sequence. Brown will also inform boats that start “prematurely” that they must do their “penalty turns,” rounding either end of the start line and restarting correctly. Yes, he’s the “enforcer!” Later, after all boats have started, you will see Brown blasting out to Gosport Harbor to set-up the finish line and record the finish time of the racers.