Heavy air for big finish in Vineyard Cup

The schooner Juno, built in Vineyard Haven by Gannon & Benjamin, powered upwind on the final day of the Vineyard Cup. — Photo by Steve Myrick

A popular pursuit race format marked the final day of racing in the 2011 Vineyard Cup. Southwest winds building to 18 knots with higher gusts challenged the fleet around Vineyard Sound.

In the pursuit format, instead of correcting time according to each boat’s handicap after the race, competitors are assigned individual starting times before the race. Myfanwy, a Sailmaster 22 was first to begin Sunday at 10:40 am, by virtue of the largest handicap. Race Horse, a W Class 37, with the lowest handicap, started the race more than an hour later, at 11:57 am.

“Theoretically, every boat should finish at exactly the same time,” race director Brock Callen explained as the fleet gathered at the starting line in Vineyard Haven outer harbor.

It was a thrilling finish, with all of the competitors finishing in the space of about 20 minutes.

Ishmael, a 47 foot schooner owned by Fred and Sarah Murphy of Vineyard Haven was first across the line Sunday in the classic division, and also overall winner for the classic division, counting all three races.

Mischief, skippered by Bob Lurie, was first in Sunday’s race among the rest of the field, and also an overall division winner, in an Alerion 26.