Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wicked Good Round The Island Race!

J/111 one-design sailboat- sailing under spinnaker off Vineyard J/111 & J/122 Lead Around The Vineyard
(Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard)- Edgartown Yacht Club held its first race around Martha’s Vineyard Island in the summer of 1938, and except for the years of the Second World War the race has been an annual event since then.  The 52 nm course is a splendid sail.  It is reminiscent of the race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was the course of the first America’s Cup.  The distance around Martha’s Vineyard is similar (only a few miles longer); both courses have views of cliffs, headlands, villages and open water; and the tidal currents and wind effects are important in both. The course around the Vineyard passes in sight of the seven lighthouses of Cape Poge, Gay Head, Tarpaulin Cove, Nobska, West Chop, East Chop and Edgartown.  In the morning the fleet sails between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket along the east beach of Chappaquiddick. At midday they are in the open Atlantic Ocean with views of the south coast of the Vineyard.  In the afternoon, rounding the gorgeous cliffs of Gay Head, the fleet sails up Vineyard Sound which was the second busiest body of water in the world during the age of sail.

The report from Doug Curtiss aboard WICKED 2.0 gives you a great perspective on what it's like to sail the race: "After a short upwind beat, we sailed down the channel between MVY and ACK with chutes set.   We reached the sea buoy ahead of the larger faster J/122 PUGWASH sailed by David Murphy.  She became our sparing partner for the rest of the day.

The breeze freshened out of the West, so we had a long beat to windward for the 22 miles down the South Shore.  We made the turn at Gay Head about 3 minutes behind PUGWASH which put us in very good spot as she owed us about 10 minutes corrected time after a 52 nm race.

We tacked down wind along the North Shore. We held our own until PUGWASH caught some extra tide lift at Middleground by going outside near the shoal where the tide runs stronger.  She lead by about 4 minutes as we came past East Chop and headed to Edgartown.

Then disaster.  The steady 10 knots out the West we had enjoyed all day began to die, and we saw the big boats out ahead starting to dump their chutes.  The breeze came in from the East Northeast almost 180 degrees the opposite direction, with a big calm doldrums in between.  We held our spinnaker as long as possible in the old breeze, but then got parked for almost 30 minutes with very little movement.  PUGWASH was to windward and in the new breeze.  She sailed off out of site to the finish.

We were very happy with a second at the end of the day.  Anytime you can knock off a Jim Swartz TP52 VESPER that sails away over the horizon, that is a good day.  But the real test was against the larger and faster J/122.  Dave Murphy's PUGWASH is a well sailed boat and we were in the hunt till the very end.  Hoping for a rematch at Buzzard's Bay Regatta in August!"

After PUGWASH's victory and WICKED 2.0 finishing second in PHRF class, other J's sailing in PHRF A included 3rd place finisher URSUS MARITIMUS, a J/120 sailed by Jim Masiero, beating out the world-famous VESPER/QUANTUM RACING TP52 sailed by Jim Swartz (a California VC renowned for making the first investment into FACEBOOK!).  Fifth was yet another J/120, Stephen Besse's APRES.

In PHRF B, Ted Herlihy's J/109 GUT FEELING walked off with handicap honors in their class.  Lying sixth was Nick Aswad's J/105 CLIO and in eighth was Bill Veno's J/130 WALTZING MATILDA.

In PHRF C Non-spinnaker cruising division, the two J/42s sailed all the way around the island seemingly glued to one another.  Gaining the upper hand at the end was Tom Townsend's WINDSLIPPER, giving the slip to their earnest colleagues, Kent Nicholas' PANASEA, to finish 4th and 5th respectively.   For more Round the Island Race sailing information