Sailing articles lure Cape Cod couple to local races

BRAD AND CHERYL EGAN decided to check out the Lake Region Sailing Club after following race recaps in The Bridgton News.

BRAD AND CHERYL EGAN decided to check out the Lake Region Sailing Club after following race recaps in The Bridgton News.

Hello Bridgton News readers: I’m David Eddy and I’ve been enjoying summers in Bridgton for at least three decades. I’ve also been writing the Lake Region Sailing Club news articles about the Tuesday Night and Saturday regattas for The Bridgton News on and off for a few years now.

I know from personal experience what a special place this Lake Region of Maine is, but when I heard the story about how Brad and Cheryl Egan of Yarmouth, Mass. came to race a small sailboat called the Optimist Dinghy last Tuesday, I said, “This deserves a special write-up.” I hope you enjoy their story of how The Bridgton News and the town of Bridgton have become a part of their lives.

The Interview

Dave: How did you come to be in Bridgton, I mean you grew up on the Cape?

Brad: I grew up as a member of the Hyannis Yacht Club on Cape Cod, and my wife was as well. The Hyannis Yacht Club had an annual ski trip up to Shawnee Peak. So, I hadn’t skied in about 10 years, but we decided to go on the ski trip. We thought it would be fun, and we brought the family up. So that’s how we got introduced to Bridgton. And then, we came up a couple more years on the same organized trip. We got to know Shawnee Peak with the kids skiing there.

Dave: Where did you stay?

Brad: On the HYC ski trip about a hundred people would come, so we would rent a bunch of lakeside condos, this was actually at the foot of Pleasant Mountain. We did this for a few years, and this became the place we would ski. Before long, we would come up for a weekend on our own and stay at Grady’s. As the years went by, we would do more and more skiing so we started to rent a house for a month of weekends, a whole bunch of different places around the Bridgton area. That became two months, and finally we said maybe we should buy a place and that’s what we did.

We bought a house, the realtor did a good job, and we found a place where you can see the water from the house even though it’s not waterfront (Highland Lake). He told us we could use it year round; it has water rights. We were lucky. It turned out to be a great neighborhood, nice people and something to do each time of year.

Cheryl: I went into the house, sat on the couch, looked out the window at the water and said, “I’m not moving!”

Brad: We always had spent a lot of time here, every weekend in the winter. My kids were training with the race team at the mountain, and I got involved with the ski school, and we have always spent a lot of time up here in the winter. And then, we started to use the house more. We would come up in the fall and a little bit in the summers, as well. It also happens to be a really fun town, people are super friendly. A nice size and friendly, Bridgton is a nice…scale. The town is very comfortable. It has a movie theater and a drive-in.

Dave: And it has one of the Renys.

Brad: Yes, it has a Renys. On a rainy day, we would give the kids a five-dollar shopping spree and for five bucks you can buy all kinds of stuff. Works great! And we get The Bridgton News delivered where we live on the Cape because we like to follow what’s going on.

Dave: So you get The Bridgton News. How long does it take to get to the Cape, what day does it get there?

Cheryl: It comes out on Thursday, we get it by Saturday’s mail.

Brad: It’s fun, you know what I mean… the police blotter is great (laughs). You have to check that out. We read it aloud! Also, the sports page. Some of the kids, we get to know them from Shawnee Peak Race Team, we get to know them, half the team is local kids. But they show up in the sports pages for all the other stuff — soccer, baseball, whatever other stuff they are in so that’s kind of fun. I also like to follow up with all the other stuff that’s going on, you know the developments…

Dave: And the local controversies…

Brad: Yeah, the McDonalds, the Dollar Store, we like it all.

It kind of reminds us of the Cape we grew up in 20 or 30 years ago. The Cape has become very large scale, it’s gotten metropolitan in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of franchises. The mom and pop stores have gone away. Coming up here is a relief from all of that.

Dave: I have a brother-in-law from Alabama who comes up here, and when we go to get a bite at Ricky’s, he says “I grew up in a small town in Alabama, and when I sit here I say to myself, ‘this could be my hometown. I thought it was gone!’” It’s really neat.

Cheryl: Bridgton is the town everybody grew up in.

Dave: You come to Bridgton and suddenly you’re 30 years in the past. It’s small, but it has everything you need.

Brad: And for my kids now, it’s an important place, and by now my kids are sort of adults…

Cheryl: Sort of!?! Thirty-seven, 27 and 21! They are adults!

Brad: Okay, yeah you’re right. Anyway, we get The News delivered every week, and we’ve been reading articles in The Bridgton News about the sailing club for a number of years.

Dave: Yes, I’m pretty much the one who has been writing the sailing club articles for the last few years. That must be what you’ve been seeing.

Brad: Yeah! Well, they’re cool; they’re a blast.

Cheryl: Brad was reading one out loud to me last week while we were working on our boat on the Cape.

Brad: And I’ve been trying to get more time off, and I’m intrigued, because, quite frankly, the articles are really inviting, saying, ‘If you’re interested, come on out and sail,’ with a number to call, and a website…

Cheryl: And saying, “bring whatever you’ve got cause we’ve got ratings for everything.”

Brad: So, I say “I’m gonna go! I’m gonna go up and do this!” I like getting out on the water.

Dave: I try to write the articles so that somebody who doesn’t even sail will find something interesting, and if you do sail you can find it interesting at another level, and if you’re a racer, there’s something even more there for you. I give the results, but I try to make it that you don’t have to know anything about it.

Brad: The articles are totally fun. The recent one I read, it was something like “Rampage was in the lead at the windward mark and the wind went 90 degrees under the pine trees, and suddenly from behind came Hat Trick!” and I was like, “yeah, awesome!”

Cheryl: In fact, you cut out one article and saved it for your dad…

Brad: I did cut one out and gave it to my father.

Cheryl: His father is a boat builder with a yacht yard on the Cape in Osterville, a large yacht yard that does all kinds of things including building big custom boats. We’ve done a lot of sailing and racing together with siblings, parents and kids. Now, nephews and grandkids, as well. And, he’s been up here to Bridgton a lot.

Brad: So I knew my father would get a kick out of that. And you totally can follow the race in the articles.

Dave: So you came up to Maine to sail last Tuesday night based on these articles you’ve been reading in The Bridgton News. So, tell me about the actual process of last week.

Cheryl: The process!?! (laughs) There is no process! (chuckles all around)

Brad: I’ve been trying to take some time off, so this was the week that was going to work, I’ve been trying to make it work. Cheryl actually called Moe and Mike at Sebago Sailing to try to rent something. They said they have Daysailers and an Oday 25, but they were all reserved so it was down to “what do I have?” And so we had an Optimist Pram in the basement, my daughter’s boat. It hadn’t been sailed in 10 or 15 years. “This is the easiest, let’s take that boat up!” Threw it in the back of the SUV (it’s a small boat folks) and drove up. I didn’t anticipate that it would be as slow as it turned out to be — it was pretty slow (laughs).

Dave: Yeah, because you’ve raced for years so you know what you’re doing and you’re getting the best that you can get, but it’s not a boat for Harrison Bay, nosireee!

Brad: Yes, with you guys with jibs and slots and long waterlines, there’s no way I’m gonna get the time to make up for that in the waves on Long Lake. And I’m way too big for the boat — it’s made for a kid, it’s made for 100 pounds or less.

But it didn’t make any difference. I was just glad to be out on the water, and you guys were so nice. I think when I called Sandy (Trend), she was just “Come down, I’ll tell you how to get there, we’ll give you a head start, we’ll figure it out, everybody was just ‘Come on down!’”

Dave: Yeah, it’s very low key. I mean like we don’t even have a protest committee!

Brad: Really! That’s good! I’m not going to be involved in any of that!

Cheryl: Oh, thank God! I’ve spent so many hours…!!! (sighs)

Dave: I’ve been racing in this club for 20 years and I’ve never seen a protest. You just work it out on the water. We’re sailing for fun. It’s just for fun, folks.

Brad: I think we’ve matured out of that, just keep your own lanes, keep to your own space…

Brad: And of course, after the sailing on shore, everyone getting together to laugh and compare stories and goof around, just fantastic. Great fun and camaraderie.

Dave: Well it’s really great that you got the bit in your teeth and made it up here. Hope to see you on the racecourse. You’ll need a bigger boat though!

Brad: In a bigger boat!

Writer’s note: Brad will be crewing for David Eddy for a Saturday regatta. We hope to see him and his wife Cheryl at future Lake Region Sailing Club events, all because of their love for Bridgton and their love of The Bridgton News. Thanks to Wayne (Rivet) and all the folks in Bridgton who make this town a great place to spend the most important thing any one of us has to spend — our time!

Till next time, sail fast!

The Lake Region Sailing Club invites all sailors to come out to sail with us on Tuesday nights in Harrison Bay off Lakeside Pines. Races start at 5 p.m. Visit us on the web at www.lakeregionsailingclub.com, and give a call or send an e-mail if you’d like to join in. The club is always open to taking a new sailor out on one of the boats.

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