Sag Harbor celebrated its maritime history over the weekend with a three-day festival including whaleboat races, a tug-o-war, clam shucking and clam chowder contests, plus an arts and crafts fair and farmer’s market on Long Wharf, historic walking tours and food and wine tastings among dozens of events.
The annual whaleboat races saw many familiar faces manning the oars and tillers. Like Bret Favre, who apparently refuses to retire, veteran rower Roy Schoen flew in from Colorado on Friday afternoon to compete over the weekend, forming a new team, the No Name Leftover Misfits HarborFest Extravaganza, or Misfits for short. (Organizers were relieved when the team lost in the final round for fear the tremendous cost of engraving their name on the coveted Whalers Cup trophy would bankrupt the organization.) But it was the two teams that saw little or no changes who emerged as champions this year, Team Whalers defending as men’s champions, and Sag Harbor Liquors upsetting John K. Ott and defending champions Bridgehampton Equipment Repair in the women’s championship.
The three teams in that final women’s race were the same three that faced each other last year. In 2008, Bridgehampton Equipment rowed to victory after Liquors and Ott tangled up in the final leg. This year it was Liquors, with Heidi Schmitz, Hilary Schmitz, Hayley Schmitz and Jessica Eberhart in the boat who rowed easily on while Ott and Bridgehampton stalled together just past the first mark. Lisa Becker was with the Schmitz girls in the boat on Saturday.
In the men’s final, John K. Ott earned its spot by first rowing a race-off to get into the semi-finals, then defeating favored Corner Bar to make the finals. But Team Whalers, with Ray Pettigrew, Bill Martin, Sean Beyel and Shannon Tice, who have won the cup 13 times since 1993, was too strong and successfully defended again, after clearing the Misfits and Ott before the first marker and never giving up the lead.
This year also featured the second annual whaleboat races for the Firefighters Cup. Four teams competed with the defending champions from Sag Harbor’s Gazelle Hose Company repeating, with Robert Bori, Howard North, Michael D’Angelo and Kelly Bailey on board.
In other contests at the wharf over the weekend, Denise O’Malley successfully defended as Shucker of the Year in the clam shucking contest — a title she shared last year with Monica Miller. And in the clam chowder contest, the public voted The New Paradise Café as having the best New England-style chowder, and Clams on Wheels had the best Manhattan-style.