Seven Seas Cruising Association Downeast Gam

Over 60 boats and 150 cruisers descended upon sleepy Islesboro, Maine for the SSCA's annual Downeast Gam.

Thirty-seven dinghies rafted up for Hors d'oeurvres behind Herb and Ruth Weiss's 40-foot ketch /Windpower/, out of Marion, Massachusetts.//

Thirty-seven dinghies rafted up for Hors d'oeurvres behind Herb and Ruth Weiss's 40-foot ketch _Windpower__, out of Marion, Massachusetts.Warren Higgons

The nineteenth annual Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) Gam was held on August 1, 2009, at the De Grasse cottage on Broad Cove, Gilkey Harbor, Islesboro, Maine. Even though the Gam was designated as an SSCA event, 151 cruising sailors from all walks of life attended. A number of potential new members attended their first gam and several joined on site.

Cruisers tied their dinghies at the ferry dock and walked the short distance to the event or landed them on the shore in front on the cottage. Sailors especially love potluck affairs since each boat brings something different for the table. Fortunately, the food held out just long enough! As the sailors were finishing lunch, it was noted that some of the most accomplished sailors in the world were in the harbor. Special guests included Jim Melcher who had singlehanded his homebuilt 34' leeboard, Sharpie Alert to Europe. Later he and Diane de Grasse-Melcher sailed Alert around the Mediterranean and back to the Caribbean where Jim celebrated his 80th birthday. We heard from two SSCA members and attendees at last year's downeast gam, Katherine and Lael Easterling; they are sailing their 40' sloop Painted Skies, around the world. Currently they are somewhere between American Samoa and Australia.

Guest speaker Peter McCrea, sailing his 35' Freedom sloop Panacea, out of Thomaston, Maine, talked about participating in the Bermuda 1-2, Newport, Rhode Island to Bermuda sailing race; single handed to Bermuda, double handed back to Newport. Peter has won the event several times and described this year's weather and sea conditions, necessary preparations, failures and the various humorous events among the participants including a flat calm-induced mutiny on another entrant's boat when within sight of the Newport, Rhode Island finish!

The weather held for the last event of the busy day. Later Saturday afternoon, thirty-seven dinghies rafted up behind Herb and Ruth Weiss' 40' ketch Windpower, out of Marion, Massachusetts. Hors d'oeurvres were passed from dinghy to dinghy.

Sailors heading north during the summer of 2010 should mark their calendars and plan to attend the twentieth annual Downeast Gam scheduled for August 7, 2010, in Gilkey Harbor, Islesboro, Maine. More information will be forthcoming as the date approaches.