Star Island Corporation and the Piscataqua Sailing Association are pleased to announce the highly anticipated return of the Gosport Regatta in 2022! This historic sailing race from Portsmouth Harbor to Star Island will take place on Sunday, September 18, 2022. All are welcome to take part as spectators aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton as it follows the race en route to Star Island for family-friendly festivities including food, live music, and a kite display. Sailors may register to participate in the Regatta at www.sailpsa.org
Sail racing history opened a new chapter with the revival of the Gosport Regatta in 2009. When racers and spectators gather for this year’s event, they will help write additional pages in the modern history of the Gosport Regatta. The event certainly had a colorful start in July of 1874, when it was organized by John Poor, President of the Stickney & Poor Spice Trading Co., to celebrate the grand opening of his Star Island Oceanic Hotel. It attracted more than 50 boats, among them America—the yacht for which the legendary America’s Cup is named. It was America’s first race under the ownership of the most colorful General Benjamin Franklin Butler of Ipswich, Mass. who had served as a top-ranking general through most of the Civil War. Butler captained the yacht to victory in the Regatta’s second year on August 2, 1875. Reports indicate that 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 America. Hotels on both Appledore and Star Islands were booked to capacity for the event—John Poor’s “sweepstakes race for the Oceanic Cup.” The New York Times reported that special trains and excursion steamers brought thousands to the region to watch. In their historical overview, The Isles of Shoals Regattas, authors Lois Williams and Sam O’Connor wrote that Poor offered a “large solid silver punchbowl” as the prize, and that after his victory, “General Butler sailed across to Bay View in triumph with the silver punch bowl on the America’s cabin table.”
Gosport Regatta celebrations on Star Island will return this year for the first time since 2019. Star Island and the Piscataqua Sailing Association are excited to carry on this historic and family friendly tradition following a two-year hiatus. This community event is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Star Island Corporation and the Piscataqua Sailing Association.
Schedule of Events
9:45 AM Check-in at the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co.
(315 Market St. Portsmouth, NH 03801)
10:25 AM M/V Thomas Laighton departs Portsmouth
11:00 AM Sailing race begins
12:30 PM M/V Thomas Laighton arrives at Star Island
12:45 PM Appetizers, soft beverages, live music on the Brookfield porch, kite displays
3:00 PM BBQ dinner opens at Brookfield lawn, buffet style as racers begin to arrive
4:00 PM Awards Ceremony at Brookfield Hall
6:45 PM M/V Thomas Laighton departs Star Island
8:00 PM M/V Thomas Laighton arrives in Portsmouth
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