Saturday, May 24, 2014

FIGAWI Race Preview

J/105 sailing Figawi race (Hyannis, MA)- The most anticipated opening regatta for the offshore sailors in New England (particularly those around Cape Cod) has to be the renowned FIGAWI Race weekend.  Traditionally taking place on the USA Memorial Day holidays, this mad dash of 60nm or so (depending on how you sail it) from Hyannis port to Nantucket has to be one of the world’s larger pursuit races.  And, that is its charm.  No one has any idea of how well they will do since it’s really a race to yet another social event/ party that takes place on Saturday night.  For most, the racing is secondary to the social activities ashore in Nantucket all Sunday.

The 43rd Annual Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season with over 200 sailboats and nearly 3,000 sailors attend this event.  The weekend begins with a Kickoff Party at Hyannis Yacht Club on Friday, May 23rd, 2014.  It is a come-one, come-all affair!

Early Saturday morning, the first boat officially starts at 10 am off the Hyannis Port Jetty, hoping to be the first one to Nantucket Harbor. In this pursuit-style race, there have often been cases where maxi 70 footers are crossing the line simultaneously with J/24s, J/35s, J/44s, Concordia 40s and Lord knows what else!

This year’s 206 entries are sure hoping the weather cooperates.  Fog, drizzle and rain are not unknown in these parts in late spring, so is no wind.  Nevertheless, with an enormous depression moving offshore spinning off northeasterly breezes, the fleet should have light drizzle Friday, but clearing for Saturday start! (see weather forecast).

Hoping to make their mark in this year’s event are nineteen intrepid J adventurers whistling across Vineyard Sound.  First out of the blocks will be the two J/29s, Pat Cerundolo’s IL CATTIVO and Ira Perry’s SEEFEST.  Next are likely to be another duo of J/40s, Bill Jones’s SMITTEN and Kirk Brown’s JAZZ.  Then, comes the single biggest “one-design” start in the fleet, a half-dozen J/105s that include the Nantucket High School Sailing Team on CLIO (very cool, eh?) along with Joyce & Wagner Reservitz’s DARK’N’STORMY, Doug Riggs’s RIGADOON, Ed Lobo’s WATERWOLF, Brad Mascott’s TWO IF BY SEA and Jon Bloom’s BEAR SPIRIT.  Two J/109s are next, making the trip are Jim Bello’s DEJA VU and Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE.  Not far behind will be two J/120s, Dave Follett’s GLORY and Gordon Mack’s M-SQUARED.  Ed Kaye’s J/111 PRAVDA 2 will be in hot pursuit behind the 120s.  Yet another duo of J/122s will be following them, Jim Masiero’s URSUS MARITIMUS and Peter Duncan’s PATRIOT. Finally, the “big boys” this year starting about the same time are Lauren Burke’s J/44 SPICE and Dick Egan’s award-winning J/46 WINGS!  Fun for all. It’s likely to be a jib/ genoa fetch reach across, particularly if the front keeps moving and the wind veers into the ESE quadrants!  For more FIGAWI Race sailing information