Local sailors do well in record setting EYC ‘Round the Island Race

All is well aboard Vesper, which won overall honors for three days of big boat racing during Edgartown Yacht Club Race Week. — Photo by Michael Berwind

Updated 1:15 pm Monday, July 22, 2013

More than 50 boats, many of them high-tech racing vessels, capped three days of big boat racing with the Edgartown Yacht Club’s ‘Round the Island Race Saturday. The 55 nautical mile circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard was a stiff test of sailing conditions that included rough seas and wind gusts measured at 29 miles per hour.

This year the club added two days of buoy racing to the schedule, leading up to the ‘Round the Island Race, which has been a mainstay of the sailing season since 1938.

Edgartown Yacht Club member Jim Swartz and the crew of his IRC52 Vesper posted six decisive victories in six races on Thursday and Friday, then another impressive win in their class for the ‘Round-the-Island Race. He was awarded the Great Venona Trophy for best performance overall.

The Concord Cup, for quickest elapsed time, went to Rambler, a 90 foot maxi yacht skippered by George David. The boat and crew set an impressive record for the ‘Round the Island Race, finishing in a mind boggling elapsed time of four hours and 10 minutes. That shaved nearly one hour off the record they set in 2009. “Our top speed was 27 knots on the north side of the island, after the final corner to the finish,” said Rambler’s Team Manager Mick Harvey in a press release. “The boat just lit up! We were ripping along with flat water and no waves. George was driving, and he was having the time of his life. It was really, really cool.”

Also faring well among local connections was Iniki, an Alerion Express skippered by Paul Stafford, also of the Edgartown Yacht Club, who won Class 8 for double-handed boats, on corrected time.

Soma Holiday, a Hanse 355 sailed by Francis Sutula out of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, won in Class 5, finishing in a corrected time of under 6 hours. [Full Results]

Next week the club will host the Farr 40 North American Championships, with eight boats, complete with crews and support teams, expected for the competition.