A birthday bash for Juno after Gaff Rig Race win

Juno was launched with raucous cheers in September 2003. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The owners and crew of Juno celebrated the tenth birthday of the 65 foot Gannon & Benjamin schooner, largest of the vessels built by the Vineyard Haven company, by winning the 25th Annual Pat West Memorial Gaff Rig and Schooner Race September 14.

Owners Robert and Melissa Soros were aboard for the victory, with Mr. Soros at the helm, and Captain Scott DiBiaso serving as tactician for the race.

“The awards celebration rolled into the birthday party,” Mr. DiBiaso said.

Jeff Robinson, aboard Phra Luang, finished second to Juno in the schooner division. Matt Hobart in Heart’s Desire was third.

In the gaff rig division, Zoli Clark was first aboard Hazel, also a Nat Benjamin designed, Gannon & Benjamin built boat. Phil Bennett in Wilbur was second, and Woody Bowman in Julia Lee was third.

A dozen boats started the contest. The course crossed Vineyard Sound to Tarpaulin Cove and led back to Vineyard Haven. A fading breeze and foul tide forced a mid-race course adjustment for some of the smaller boats, an on-the-water ad-lib that typifies the informal nature of the race.

“It’s very much a gentlemen’s event to go out and have a fun sail in September,” Mr. DiBiaso said. “It’s a nice way to end the summer sailing season.”