Why not sail America’s version of that famous race around beautiful Martha’s Vineyard? The challenges are every bit as crazy as you round various points, bluffs, tidal races and gorgeous beaches resplendent with dozens of gorgeous Hollywood A-list celebrities hanging out in teenie-weenie-bikinis!
No question, one of the ten best weekends of the year, especially if you live in New England, is upon us. Often, we’ve dreamt of these days while shoveling mounds of snow or paying the heating bill. For sailors, especially, who look to combine competition with great camaraderie, there is no better way to spend one of these precious weekends than competing in Edgartown Yacht Club’s Edgartown Race Weekend, which offers the option of racing ‘Round-the-Buoys (Thursday and Friday, July 28-29) or ‘Round-the-Island (Saturday, July 30), or both.
First held in 1938, Edgartown Yacht Club’s ’Round the Island Race was inspired by a similar, albeit shorter, race around the Isle of Wight in England. With staggered starts by class (IRC, ORC, PHRF-NE Classic, One-Design, Multihull and Double-Handed) the fleet leaves Edgartown Harbor on a 54.7 mile course that takes it over Nantucket Sound, the Atlantic Ocean and Vineyard Sound, sailing past seven lighthouses while circumnavigating, clockwise, the 100 square mile island of Martha’s Vineyard.
For Massachusetts resident Steve Dahill, who races his J/35C RIVA out of both Beverly Yacht Club (Marion) and Constitution Yacht Club (Boston) and has been participating in the ’Round-the-Island Race for six years, there are numerous reasons to make room for this event on his summer calendar:
“There is the beauty of racing around all the sights of Martha’s Vineyard from the gentle slopes and beaches of Wasque, to the cliffs at Squibnocket, to the iconic rounding at Devils Bridge and Aquinnah. Then, there’s great competition from boats we don't always see in our local club - from Nantucket, to Boston and the North Shore, from Newport and beyond - a real nice mix and we've met new friends. It also doesn't get more competitive or compelling, racing that far in one day is a marathon for most of us club racers and for many it is a goal that we think about and plan for all year. It’s also an opportunity to race against the best. Seeing George David’s Rambler rush by (in 2014) or the TP52s squeaking upwind with their pro teams- it’s right out of SAIL or Sailing World magazines. Can the average golfer tee off with Jason Day? No, but at the Round-the-Island Race you can be neck-and-neck with the best local and pro teams.”
Edgartown Yacht Club’s Edgartown Race Weekend starts with the two-day Round-the-Buoy Races, which are entry free and open to boats racing with a PHRF, ORC, IRC or CRF rating. The Friday night “Jump-Up” sponsored by Mount Gay is held at Edgartown Yacht Club and follows the ’Round-the-Buoy awards presentations for winners of each day as well as overall for both days. Saturday’s Round Island Race is open to IRC, ORC, PHRF-NE (including spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions), classic, one-design, multihull and double-handed boats. The Round Island awards ceremony is on Sunday morning at 10:00 a.m. at Edgartown Yacht Club.
In the PHRF Round Buoy series, we find Doug Curtiss’ J/111 WICKED 2.0 from New Bedford YC up against Stephen McManus’s J/120 SAYKADOO from Annapolis YC. Then, in the Round Island Race, there’s a “yuge” fleet racing for class honors in the twenty-two boat PHRF Racing Class, including the above mentioned teams plus Jim Maseiro’s J/122 URSUS MARITIMUS, Dick Egan’s gorgeous J/46 WINGS, Butch Joy’s J/120 KINDRED SPIRITS, Stephen Besse’s J/120 APRES, Ed Dailey’s J/109 RAPTOR, Eliot Shanabrook’s J/109 HAFA ADAI, Ira Perry’s J/29 SEEFEST, and Steve Dahill’s J/35C RIVA. Sailing twenty-boat PHRF Non-Spinnaker will be Wesley McMichael’s J/44 BALLYHOO and Kent Nicholas’ J/42 PANASEA. For more Round-the-Island Race sailing information