Vineyard Cup wraps up with pursuit race

Steve Myrick

Finally. Wind. The 2012 Vineyard Cup wrapped up Sunday with competitors zipping around the Nantucket Sound course in a pursuit race.

A steady southwest breeze, much more familiar conditions than boat crews faced on the first two days of racing, made for a quick trip around the buoys.

In a pursuit format, each boat is assigned a start time according to its rating, with slower boats starting first, and faster boats last. First over the finish line wins, no corrected time adjustments necessary.

After three days of racing, the overall class winners were announced at the post-race party Sunday evening.

In Class 1, Phil Hale sailed Wicked, a Sheilds 30, to victory over 13 other competitors.

In Class 2, Apres, a J/120 sailed by local standout Stephen Besse was the winner in a field of 16 boats.

In the spinnaker division, Race Horse ran away with the class. The distinctive wooden W37 is owned by Donald Tofias.

In the small classic division, Isabella, a Bella class wooden day sailer built by Gannon & Benjamin in Vineyard Haven, took top honors with skipper John Stout.

Gentian, a New York 32 skippered by visiting sailor Richard Armstrong was best among the classic boats competing.

In the Alerion one-design class, the overall winner was Osprey, an Alerion Express 38, owned by James Swent.

In the Morris Division, best in class was Undine, skippered by Edward Cerullo.

Full results are available at the regatta web site,

Aboard the brand new and very fast Morris 52, temporarily named M52 while awaiting a new owner to choose a permanent name, Chad Thieken was at the helm for a day of exciting racing, finishing second overall in the division.

Morris Yachts of Bass Harbor, Maine, is in its third year of Vineyard Cup sponsorship.

“There are all kinds of reasons to be here,” said Cuyler Morris, president of the company his father founded 40 years ago. He said the event gives his customers in Southern New England a chance to get together.

“It’s the right kind of event for our customers. There’s competition, but it’s friendly. To top it all off, you get to support community sailing in Martha’s Vineyard. It ticks off all the boxes.”

Proceeds from the event go to Sail Martha’s Vineyard, to help provide sailing lessons, educational programs, and maritime vocational training.