Last year, a total of 62 teams (in IRC, Double-Handed, PHRF Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker Divisions) met breezes of 25 knots plus during the 54.7 nautical mile circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard, and no one enjoyed it more than Doug Curtiss’s (S. Dartmouth, Mass.) team aboard the J/111 Wicked 2.0, which has been a regular at the race since 2008.
“Not only did we secure a first place in PHRF A Class by three minutes (corrected time) in this six-hour race but also we went toe-to-toe with a OD35 for most of the day,” said Curtiss in his recap of the racing last year. “And did I mention some great sailing with gusts to 30 knots and a top speed of 18.6 knots for Wicked 2.0?”
This year’s ‘Round-the-Island Race is tracking to top last year’s numbers, with 44 entries already registered. They include defending class champions like Ned Joyce’s (Plymouth, Mass.) J/105 Dark ‘n Stormy in PHRF Spinnaker Division.
“There’s a long tradition in this race,” said Curtiss, after signing up again for this year, “and a high caliber of competitors, so it’s just an honor to compete. You get every kind of condition—usually a heavy tide going out past Chappaquiddick on the east side of the island and a long beat to windward on the south side of the island to Gay Head. Then you get a nice long spinnaker run down Vineyard Sound on a southwesterly prevailing wind. There are a lot of tactics and calculations about tides and winds; you deal with a lot of variables, so it’s just a very exciting race.”
The largest division last year (22 entries) was for PHRF Non-Spinnaker, and for that there is a prestigious trophy as well: the Upbeat Cup, for best overall finish. In 2011, Commodore Owen C. Smith (Weston, Conn.) donated this cup, named after his yacht that had done this race more often than any other boat, always in non-spinnaker division. (Smith switched to Spinnaker Division in 2013 and has registered to race in that class again for 2014 with his J/28 Resurgo).
Other J/Teams that are racing in the Big Boat event on Thursday and Friday include Richard Egan’s J/46 WINGS in the Double-handed Class and in the PHRF Spinnaker Class, the US Naval Academy’s J/122 DOLPHIN skippered by Tyler Martenstein, two J/120s- Stephen Besse’s APRES and Stephen McManus’s SAYKADOO, and the trio of Joyce, Reservitz and Wagner sailing their J/105 DARK’N’STORMY.
For the popular Round Island Race, the Double-handed Class includes Adrian Little’s J/100 FLASHPOINT. The PHRF Spinnaker Class has a large turnout of J/Teams, including Curtiss’s J/111 WICKED 2.0, two J/122s- the US Naval Academy’s DOLPHIN & Jim Maseiro’s URSUS MARITIMUS, Jeff Eberle’s J/130 CILISTA, two J/46s- Bill Jacobson’s VANISH & Richard Egan’s WINGS, three J/120s- Bess’s APRES, McManus’s SAYKADOO & Richard Joy’s KINDRED SPIRITS, Ed Dailey’s J/109 RAPTOR, the J/105 DARK’N’STORMY, Ira Perry’s J/29 SEEFEST, Steve Dahill’s J/35c RIVA and Smith’s J/28 RESURGO.
There is also a good presence of J’s sailing in PHRF Non-Spinnaker class that includes Wes McMichael’s J/44 BALLYHOO and Ken Nicholas’s J/42 PANASEA. For more Edgartown Race Week sailing information