By Skyler Frink
June 21, 2011 2:00 AM
Beachgoers watched over the weekend as dozens of boats zipped by during the Hampton Beach Catamaran Regatta, which attracted racers from Canada, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
A Canadian team beat out eight other Formula 18-class boats, while a team from Scarborough, Maine, won the Hobie 16-class race. The winning F18 team, which consisted of Maxime Loiselle from Quebec City and Chris Brentice from Halifax, travels around the coast looking for races to participate in.
"We're always looking for races," said Loiselle.
Loiselle said he hopes to see more people get involved in catamaran races.
"The main thing I love about catamarans is that you have to be in shape to race," he said.
The F18 race was very close, with Loiselle's team winning by one point. Points are determined by placement in each round: one point is awarded for coming in first, two points for placing second, etc. The team with the fewest points by the end of the races wins.
The H16 race was won by Doug Baker and Kristin Richard of Scarborough. Baker has been racing catamarans for more than 32 years.
While the Hobie competition featured only four boats, it did not lack intensity.
"Several of the races were almost a photo finish," he said. Baker cited strategy and a little bit of luck as to how his team won.
Baker also said he hopes to see more people joining the sport in the future.
"It isn't just for the rich," he said. "You can pick a Hobie up for $500 or $1,000."
Baker's favorite part about catamaran racing, and the H16 races in particular, is that technology does not matter. As a testament to that fact, he said, he won in a 13-year-old boat.
There were no accidents during the races, said Rick Bliss, who has worked for the regatta for more than 25 years.
"It was a perfect weekend; we couldn't have asked for better weather. "There were five rounds for both races throughout the weekend, with five occurring each day."