BELFAST, Maine — Jaunty, fluttering pennants and beautiful multi-million-dollar vessels filled Belfast Harbor Thursday as the New York Yacht Club made its first-ever visit to the midcoast city.
Nearly 70 boats had arrived by Wednesday evening and found their berths and moorings for their stay in Belfast, scheduled to last until Friday. Every year, the yacht club members go on a cruise and every other year they come to Maine, according to Caitlin Strunk, the dockmaster for Front Street Shipyard. Her company is hosting the floating party’s midcoast visit.
“We went down and spoke to the commodore of the club and say hey, you should visit Belfast,” she said Wednesday. “It’s good to see. Right now, they have all of their flags up. It’s really pretty. They’re waving in the wind. so you can tell which boats are in the yacht club.”
One of the planned events was a Thursday night lobster bake for 250 people, held in one of the shipyard’s large green buildings. But during the day, the participants didn’t have any races or sailing obligations. Some sailors took advantage of the free day to stroll around town, including Louise Clark, who had just gone shopping for food at the Belfast Co-op. She said she was flown in from her home in the south of France to work as a crewmember on the 60-foot catamaran Flow during the annual cruise, which started in Newport, Rhode Island.
“I’m loving Maine,” she said. “I’m completely blown away by how beautiful it is.”
According to Clark, the yacht club’s cruise is a lot of fun.
“It’s nice being out on the water with other boats around,” she said. “I’d also say the camaraderie at the end of the day is great, with people popping onto the boats to socialize. It’s a nice atmosphere.”
The boats in the harbor ranged in size from a 31-foot sailboat to a 118-foot yacht, Strunk said. They are scheduled to sail away Friday and the next stop is Islesboro. But all day Thursday the boats — and the visitors — did not go unnoticed by locals.
“How wonderful it is to see so many New York visitors in Belfast and our harbor filled with beautiful boats,” Karen Brezsnyak, the executive director of the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce, said.