Ariana Rockefeller, Forbes.com
Skipper David Rockefeller, Jr. sails in Northeast Harbor Maine- International One Design Sailboat races
On the granite shores of Mount Desert Island, the world championships of the International One Design sailboat class began Sunday August 20th in Northeast Harbor, Maine. Teams made up of the best IOD sailors in the world gathered all the way from Norway, to Manhattan yacht clubs and prepared to sail to success amidst the spruce lined archipelago of Maine islands.
The Northeast Harbor Fleet is this year’s host for the IOD Worlds, welcoming teams hailing from international and national yacht clubs: Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Norway; Fisher’s Island, Marblehead, MA, Long Island Sound, San Francisco, Nantucket, Manhattan Yacht Club and this year’s home team Northeast Harbor. The changing winds and rolling fog of the Maine islands provides an exciting and often unpredictable racetrack for sailors. Navigating lobster pots and craggy shores in choppy waters while fighting for the win will challenge every captain’s metal during the week long world series.
Founded in 1936 by Cornelius Shields, Sr. and designed by Norwegian boat builder Bjarne Aas, the International One Design sailboat has been committed to the tradition of testing sailing skills in equally equipped yachts. The one design class rules and principles strive to ensure that every vessel is outfitted as equally to the competing boats as possible, making the race about the sailing skills and expertise of the skipper and their crew. With beautifully crafted, sleek hulls and wooden masts, the boats operate with no engine and minimal technology (a compass and VHF radio) and are highly regulated in every addition and repair individual owners choose to make. The natural power, speed and beauty of these boats make them the ‘thoroughbreds’ of the sailing world.
Northeast Harbor, Maine Hosts the IOD World Championships 2017
The 20 teams qualified for the world series this year are well represented by seasoned sailors and IOD masters. Two teams from Bermuda, skippers Patrick Cooper and Penny Simmons. From Marblehead, Massachusetts Ian Morrison and Bill Widnall; Nantucket will be skippered by Dan MacKeigan and Paul McCausland; Long Island Sound is represented by skipper Elliott Wislar; Manhattan Yacht Club has Eric Leitner at the helm; Nova Scotia sends Peter Wickwire and Fisher’s Island John Burnham and Jonathan Farrar each captaining. San Francisco sees Paul Zupan and Richard Pearce at respective helms. Sweden will be represented by Bjorn Wahlstrom and Urban Ristorp, and the Norwegians have Martin Rygh and Tormod Lie sailing. Home teams from Northeast Harbor have captains John Henry sailing, and David Rockefeller, Jr. who placed 1st in the 2016 world series qualifier class (and who also has two America’s Cup races on his resume). The 2016 IOD World Champion, Charlie Van Voorhis and team, automatically qualified for the championships, and he returns this year as ‘Defender’ of the title.
The series welcomed sailors from around the world on Sunday night with a cocktail reception at Northeast Harbor’s rustic fleet house, before competitions began on Monday afternoon. The courses change daily and are navigated through the waters of the Great Harbor, the Western Way, the Eastern Way, Somes Sound, and waters surrounding Mount Desert Island. The home fleet is responsible for providing boats, the race committee and course design. Each team will board a different boat for each race in a rotation schedule prepared by the home fleet. Over the course of six races sailed throughout the championship, the team may drop the least desirable score out of six races. Each race’s winner is determined simply by which boat crosses the finish line first.
IOD Boats start the race in Northeast Harbor, Maine
Witnessing the wooden hulled boats glide through the ice cold water of Downeast Maine, with only the power of the wind and skill of the skipper guiding them is a site to behold. All in view of one of America’s treasures, Acadia National Park, which was celebrated last year with the centennial anniversary of the park’s founding. Sailing in the waters surrounding the park brings an extra special element to the IOD world championships, and even on a foggy day, sailors and spectators alike cannot help but be taken with the rugged beauty of coastal Maine. By Friday, a new winner of the 2017 IOD World Championship will be named, but above all sportsmanship and camaraderie will reign at the fleet docks.