Slow start, fast finish for Vineyard Cup Regatta

Slow start, fast finish for Vineyard Cup Regatta

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Competitors in the spinnaker division drive downwind on the opening day of racing at the Vineyard Cup. — Photo by Steve Myrick

The sixth annual Vineyard Cup Regatta started with the fleet slatting through the first leg in light, flukey air, and ended with more than 45 boats galloping toward the Vineyard Haven Harbor finish line in a freshening, but still flukey, late afternoon zephyr

Four different classes proceeded across the start line, positioned just off East Chop, beginning at 1 pm. Racing continues tomorrow, beginning with a classic yacht parade of sail at 10 am. Racing will wrap up Sunday.

Jim Lengel traveled from Bristol, Rhode Island for the Vineyard Cup. He was at the helm of Top Cat, an Alerion 38 yawl Friday, in a race that tested both patience and skill.

“The wind shifted 180 degrees just before the start,” Mr. Lengel said. “We started downwind, we hit a couple of holes, but the wind picked up in the afternoon. We had a great upwind final leg.”

Mr. Lengel said he enjoys visiting Martha’s Vineyard.

“We had a great time,” Mr. Lengel said. “We go to many different ports all around New England. Vineyard Haven has got to be our favorite. The atmosphere, the welcome we get, everyone is good to us.”

Results from Friday’s races will be posted at vineyardcup.com.

Racers feasted on chowder, Caesar salad, and platter after platter of lobster rolls from the Black Dog Tavern, one of the race sponsors, at the post race party on the Vineyard haven waterfront. The dessert menu featured Nestle Drumstick ice cream cones.

Popular local band Dukes County Love Affair entertained the thirsty, hungry sailors. More than two dozen local and national sponsors helped stage the event.

“It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, attracting that many national sponsors,” race organizer Brock Callen said. “Without our sponsors, we couldn’t do this.”

Race organizers emphasized the post race party is not only for race participants. The public is invited. A $30 bracelet gets you dinner and libations from sponsors Sam Adams, and Patron Vodka. Saturday night’s party features a performance by Entrain.

Proceeds from the event go to Sail Martha’s Vineyard, which organizes sailing lessons for more than 400 children and teenagers over the summer months and supports maritime education and events.