The 36thannual Sag Harbor Cup, a benefit regatta hosted by the Breakwater Yacht Club, will include all the usual suspects — Big Boat, Boogie Van, Caminos, Gossip, Skidip! and Swans Way— boats that, among others, make Breakwater such a vibrant sailing community center.
But there will be one standout this year when the race sets off in the waters off Sag Harbor on June 2. The Blue Peter, to be sure, is no ordinary sailboat.
Built in 1930 in Burnham-on-Crouch in England, the 65-foot boat features an original hull made of teak. She was raced competitively on the south coast of England by her first owner, Desmond Molins, until 1950 when she was sold into Italian ownership. After moving between three different Italian owners who cruised the boat extensively around the Italian coast and its islands, Mathew Barker left his life as an investment banker and bought the boat in 1999.
He will sail The Blue Peter north to compete in a series of regattas, including the Sag Harbor Cup at Breakwater next week.
“The Blue Peterhas been a very important part of my life for the last 18 years and I am very proud of her and our achievements,” Barker said this week. “She is a beautiful, fast yacht and I look forward to showing her off in Sag Harbor.”
During his first three years aboard The Blue Peter, Barker restored the boat to its original glory. The time and resources left Barker needing for business to support the restoration and any future endeavors.
“I had to either sell her and get a job or try to make some money from my now beautiful yacht,” Barker said. “I hit on the idea of regatta charters. There is a great classic yacht circuit in the Mediterranean that we became a regular part of. This venture expanded to include the Caribbean in 2013 and now we spend our time between the Med, the Caribbean and New England with plans to head across the Pacific in time for the next America’s Cup in New Zealand in 2021.”
Earlier this year, a group of Sag Harbor sailors including Lille Fell, Liz Joyce and Sara Nightingale, all members of Breakwater, sailed aboard The Blue Peterat Grenada Sailing Week, winning two out of five races in its series to finish second overall in the classic division. The boat is available for additional charters and takes all levels of experience. Barker said he is currently looking for a team to take the boat to Nantucket Race Week and the Opera House Cup, which are both in August.
The Sag Harbor Cup will be open to registration up until the day before the race at sagharborcup.org. There will be a post-race party at Breakwater, with tickets available at the door for $30.