The Vineyard sailors raced in home waters for the first time this season, hosting a high school quad meet against Lincoln Sudbury, Sharon, and Barnstable, on Monday afternoon on Lagoon Pond.
The Vineyarders forged a split in the two best-of-five series that counted, edging Lincoln Sudbury 3-2 but falling to Sharon 3-0. MV started the day by scrimmaging Barnstable, gaining valuable experience against a solid opponent.
The weather was warm and pleasant throughout, with varying cloud cover and a 5- to 15-knot breeze blowing in from the west/southwest with 20° shifts.
The teams raced a “digital n” course, starting just off the Sail Martha’s Vineyard boathouse beach near Sailing Camp in Oak Bluffs, heading south to the windward mark and offset, continuing northwest to the leeward mark and offset, and finishing due south on the Vineyard Haven side of the Lagoon.
For the scrimmage with Barnstable and the Lincoln Sudbury series, Vineyard Coach Andrew Burr sent out skipper/crew combinations of senior Mary Murano and junior Maggie Mayhew, freshman Joe Serpa and junior Coltrane Leport, and freshman Patrick Flaherty with junior Elizabeth O’Brien. Freshmen Abigail Hammerlund and Taylor Trudel, along with sophomore Colin Henke, also saw action in the scrimmage races.
The young Vineyarders performed well against Barnstable. They were even better against Lincoln Sudbury, a respected program with decades of high school sailing experience.
The Vineyarders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, placing 1-2-4 in the first race and 2-3-5 in second. The Warriors fought back to tie the series at 2-2. In the decisive fifth race, Lincoln Sudbury took first place, but the Vineyarders held down the 2-3-4 spots to win 12-9 on points and take the series.
After a tough two weeks sailing away from home against several of the top programs in New England, prep school powerhouses Portsmouth Abbey and St. George’s among them, the hard-fought win over Lincoln Sudbury was most welcome.
The Vineyarders closed out the day against a top-level Sharon Eagles team. Coach Burr made one change in his lineup, pairing senior Auguste Pisano at skipper with Maggie Mayhew on crew.
Joe Serpa and Coltrane Leport ran away with first place in the second race, but the Eagles grabbed places 2-3-4 to win 12-9 on points.
The hosts were in each race to the end, but lacked the aggressiveness and team racing savvy required to pull out a win against an accomplished and experienced opponent.
“My biggest thing to them,” Coach Burr said, “I always say, ‘I’d rather see you attack and go into the team racing play and fail than not to have done it and watch someone else beat us because we were too nervous to do what the sport is, which is to go on the attack.’”
Heading into the heart of their Cape and Island League schedule, the Vineyarders, who defeated Falmouth earlier this season, stand at a misleading 2-10. They are a young team with great promise that continues to improve with each race.
“As far as our team goes, the combinations of Patrick [Flaherty] and Elizabeth [O’Brien], Joe [Serpa] and Coltrane [Leport] are really impressive,” Coach Burr said. “Each time I see them, they get better and better.
“I’m really pleased with where we are right now. Watching Joe and Coltrane, they crushed it. It was so good to always see them in the top two spots in the first part [versus Lincoln Sudbury]. Whereas, in the earlier piece of the season, we weren’t necessarily in the races, we were just trying to manage; we were fully in these races. The culmination of the day was when we sailed Sharon at the end. We were always in a position to execute a team racing play and convert to a winning combo, but failed to engage, and Sharon did. They were the ones who had the team racing experience, and that experience showed.”
The Vineyarders will compete this weekend in the O’Day fleet racing qualifiers at Tabor Academy in Marion before sailing at Barnstable on Monday. The next home meet is against Sandwich on Tuesday at 3 pm.