Vineyard Cup begins with light winds, sunny weather, good racing

The yawl Saphedra, on a downwind leg in Friday's racing. — Photo by Steve Myrick

More than 50 boats in five separate classes kicked off three days of racing in the Vineyard Cup Friday, on a course that sent the fleet around East Chop and along Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach, giving visitors a chance to see the racing from shore. Northerly breezes held steady at 10 to 12 knots all afternoon.

Boats ranging from 42-foot custom built high-tech racing machines, to 18-foot family day sailers competed, under a system of equalized handicaps, figured according to a standard formula that takes into account boat design and equipment.

Preliminary results for the first day of racing will not be posted until later this evening on the Vineyard Cup web site.

“It was a great day of sailing,” race director Brock Callen said. “Unbelievable, a great spirit out there on the water.”

Competitors capped the day of racing with a hearty party under a tent outside the Black Dog Tavern. “Everyone under the tent seems to have a smile on their face,” Mr. Callen said.

Racing continues Saturday with the first class beginning at 10 am. At the same time, many of the classic wooden competitors will form a parade of sail around Vineyard Haven Harbor to give shore side viewers a good look at the historic vessels.

The classic fleet will begin their own race at 11 am.