*This article has been updated to include corrected information as not all of the results information provided was accurate*
PLEASANT BAY – There are many sailing vessels in the world, but the catboat is about as Cape Cod as it gets, and on Aug. 17 catboat enthusiasts set sails aloft as they took to the waters of Pleasant Bay for the 2019 Arey's Pond Cat Gathering.
The 27th annual event was sailed by 72 catboats and six traditional wooden sailboats, many of which were built at Arey's Pond Boat Yard in Orleans. Part friendly competition and part reunion for those who love the historic boats, the Cat Gathering got its start nearly 30 summers ago and often features not only new boats built by APBY, but also several classic vessels, including those built in the early 1900s. This year's Oldest Boat Award went to the Lestris, which was built in 1904 and remains a stunning seaworthy sight.
Other older models include the Conjurer, built in 1910, and the Old Sculpin, built in 1919, while new boats included Dazzle, with a bold orange-red hull, and the Libellule, a 24-foot custom catboat built by APBY that won Best in Show at the 2019 Wooden Boat Show in Mystic, Conn.
Arey's Pond Boat Yard launched its first catboat in 1972 following a mold that bore key similarities to the classic wooden catboats popularized on Cape Cod. Arey's Pond catboats are notable for their low center of effort, which keeps their hulls flat to allow smoother sailing.
For folks watching the gathering from the shores along Pleasant Bay, it was certainly a spectacular sight, especially when Mother Nature played along and provided some stunning purple clouds to help set off the bright whites, vanilla creams, deep maroons, and even a few red-white-and-blues of the sails.
Though winds weren't particularly gusty, there was, unlike last summer's race, enough of a breeze to allow most boats to complete the race course and enjoy a lovely sail.
This year's winners are as follows:
Arey's Pond 14 Class: 1. Mark Wiatrowski in Storm Cat; 2. Trevor Deegan in Slippery 1; 3. Greg McCauley in Summer Breeze. Classic Cat Class: 1. Bill Watson in Tenacity; 2. Jim Nathanson in Encore; 3. John Laurino in Business. Marshall Sandpiper Class: 1. Neil Tomkinson in Sophie; 2. Eric Peterson in Black Pearl; 3. Paul Duffy in Lily. Arey's Pond Lynx Class: 1. Nick Athanassiou in Athena; 2. Phil Dickinson in Elle; 3. Robin Davis and Julian Davis, and Kiara in Arther B. Marshall Sanderling Class: Bill Terrell in Ripple; 2. George Siebert in Gata Gorda; 3. Pete Carroll. Baybirds: Joseph Ballow in Mad Max; 2. Robin Adams; 3. Alix Heilala in Puffin. Catboats 19 Feet and Over: Burt and Drew Staniar in Pandora; 2. Matt Dooley and Michelle Jewell in An Cat Mathair; 3. Ryan Peterson in Genie.
Special Awards: Alan McClennen Senior Award (for the boat owner that best represents the traditions of sailing Pleasant Bay): Mon Cochran. Richard Lovis Award (for exceptional committee boat assistance): Romie, Megan and Tyler Donofrio. Farthest Traveler Award: Jeff Porter from Colorado. Fastest Dog Award (for the highest placing boat with a dog on board): Thomas Crowley's dog aboard Windpurr. Youngest Skipper Award (youngest person with a hand on the tiller): Josie Heidtman, age 1. Last Boat Award: The O'Mearas. Greatest Comeback: Robin Davis, Julian Davis, and Kiara Offley. Oldest Boat Award: the Lestris, circa 1904. Best Outfit Award: The Collins Family aboard Sorbet.