Edgartown Race Weekend draws big boats, tough competition

Spinnaker up, jib sail down aboard Wild Horses, a 76 foot W Class wooden boat competing in the 'Round the Island Race.
Photo by Steve Myrick

Spinnaker up, jib sail down aboard Wild Horses, a 76 foot W Class wooden boat competing in the 'Round the Island Race.

Updated 5:55 pm Sunday, July 27, 2014

Takeshi Okura skippered his IRC 52 Sled to a first place finish in the Edgartown Yacht Club ‘Round the Island Race Saturday, completing the 54 mile course in 5:49:22. Jim Swartz, a seasonal resident of Edgartown racing for the home club, finished just a shade under 3 minutes behind, to take second place honors in Class 1.

Trimming the spinnaker aboard Wild Horses, with Stephen Besse if Vineyard Haven making good time up Vineyard Sound in his J/108 Apres.

Photo by Steve Myrick

Trimming the spinnaker aboard Wild Horses, with Stephen Besse of Vineyard Haven making good time up Vineyard Sound in his J/108 Apres.

A total of 64 boats completed the circumnavigation, filling the overcast skies with colorful spinnaker sails. The day began in light air, and a long slog to windward to reach the “hooter” buoy south of Chappaquiddick. The breeze picked up throughout the day. By the time the fleet turned around Gay Head and headed up Vineyard Sound, the wind topped 16 knots.

Among the top local finishers was Paul Stafford of the Edgartown Yacht Club, who was first in the double-handed class, finishing the course in 9:48:00 aboard his Alerion Express 38 Inik. Sandy Vietor, in his Alerion Express 33 Orpheus, was third in the double-handed class for the home club, finishing in 10:26:39.

Stephen Besse, sailing for the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club and the Holmes Hole Sailing Association, finished an impressive second in Class 3 in an elapsed time of 8:21:50.

Racing got underway Thursday in the three day regatta, 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.

Mr. Swartz took full advantage of his home course edge, topping the IRC 52 class Vesper after the first day of racing, according to results.

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 for Big Boat Buoy Racing were Harald Findlay from the Edgartown Yacht Club, who skippered Arrow to a second place finish in Class 4 for double handed racers. Mr. Vietor, in Orpheus was third.

Mr. Besse Besse was the top local finisher in a tough PHRF Class 2, finishing fifth.