On the Island

Watch and Enjoy the 4th Annual Gosport Regatta

Spectators are welcome to set sail on the morning of Saturday, June 8 aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton to view the fourth annual Gosport Regatta.

Organized by Star Island and the Piscataqua Sailing Association, this historic open ocean race allows spectators to sail along with the race from the Piscataqua River to the finish line in Gosport Harbor and dock at Star Island. Once ashore, guests can delight in live entertainment, beverages and barbecue.

Voice of the Race and PSA member Mike Thiel previews his narration of the Gosport Regatta:  “For your understanding of the action out on the waters between Portsmouth and the Isles of Shoals, and hopefully for later in the year as you watch the America’s Cup, I’ve tried to simplify an explanation of what’s involved in sailboat racing to its most basic elements.”

Sailboats competing in the Gosport Regatta will be different in size, design, and number and size of sails. All boats in the race are handicapped in their race class and in this race by cruising, racing, or J24.  The J24 is one of the most popular racing boats in the world with about 7,000 built and many actively racing in fleets around the world.

Race courses are either windward/leeward, straight into the wind and then downwind, or triangular.  The third course option is some combination of the two, with marks designating the turning points. A great race tests a crew’s ability and boat to deal with different conditions, sailing or tacking to weather, rounding marks and dousing sails and setting new ones and running downwind. Sometimes races can be several times around the same marks. The first leg of a race is usually to windward.

The Gosport Regatta is traditionally run over a relatively long course, around 10 miles using U.S. Government navigation buoys as marks. The course is set on the day of the race, depending on the wind conditions that day.  A fast boat does not guarantee victory; strategy, boat-to-boat tactics, and team work are equally important.  In a hard-fought one-design race, and in pursuit races that are well handicapped, the finish can also be very exciting, with boats trying to nose out their competitors. Sometimes, even with a race several miles long, the difference between first and second place is just a matter of inches.

No regatta would be complete without the celebration and party after. Enjoy the action both on the water and ashore. Register online to attend the Gosport Regatta at StarIsland.org/Regatta where you will find tickets for Race Day and the overnight.

Star Island is New England’s most unique summer island home to a racing tradition started in 1874. Located approximately 10 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, Star Island is part of the National Register of Historic Places. More information about Star Island and the Gosport Regatta may be found at StarIsland.org.