Edgartown Race Weekend draws big boats, tough competition

Big boats, close racing, at Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend.
Photo by Michael Berwind

Big boats, close racing, at Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend.

Edgartown Yacht Club race weekend is underway with an impressive lineup of boats, including high tech IRC 52s with well honed professional crews, some of the Island’s top amateur racing skippers, as well as a formidable fleet of classic boats and family cruisers.

IRC 52s charge the starting line in Friday's racing.

Photo by Steve Myrick

IRC 52s charge the starting line in Friday’s racing.

Racing got underway Thursday with the Big Boat Buoy Races just outside Edgartown Harbor. Thirty competitors, expecting wet and wild conditions according to weather forecasts, instead found a mild northeast breeze that built to about 12 knots through the day. Two races were completed and a third was about to start when the IRC 52 Hooligan snagged a racing buoy and set it adrift. The race committee decided to call it a day.

Jim Swartz made full use of his home court advantage. The seasonal Edgartown resident topped the IRC 52 class sailing Vesper for the Edgartown Yacht Club, after the first day of racing, according to results posted by the race committee.
Friday the race committee set a windward-leeward course off Cape Pogue as light winds shifted to the north, and 32 boats, including eight IRC 52’s made it to the starting line. Winds were light, about 12 knots for the first race, and falling to 8 knots for the later races. The fleet completed three heats before heading back to the Edgartown Yacht Club for the awards ceremony.

Vesper bears down on the line with another win in the Big Boat Buoy Racing series.

Photo by Steve Myrick

Vesper bears down on the line with another win in the Big Boat Buoy Racing series.

Again Friday, Vesper dominated the IRC 52 class, finishing best in combined scoring for the two days with three wins and two seconds in five races.

Among other local sailors faring well in the combined scoring were Harald Findlay from the Edgartown Yacht Club, who skippered Arrow to a second place finish in Class 4 for double handed racers. Sandy Vietor, in Orpheus was third in the

double-handed division, also for the Edgartown Yacht Club. Stephen Besse was the top local finisher in a tough PHRF Class 2, finishing fifth, sailing for the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club and Holmes Hole Sailing Association.
On Saturday 67 boats are scheduled to compete in the ‘Round The Island race, first run in 1938. The first class starts at 8 am, and the competitors will sail clockwise around a 52 mile course. Viewing from shore will be best on the north side of the island, with Gay Head, West Chop, and East Chop the prime spots.