Breakwater News : Sail MV Regatta
Over the last two weekends, Sail MV has sponsored events to raise funds and encourage participation in its ever-expanding programs focused on getting people, primarily young people, out on the water. Last weekend Hope and Brock Callen and a small army of volunteers, helpers, and enthusiasts entertained a large contingent of supporters at the annual seafood buffet and art auction. Many of our own more notable yachts were on hand for dockside inspection at the Tisbury Wharf Company, where the event was held.
This past weekend saw the fourth annual Vineyard Cup Regatta. Participating yachts came from far and wide to be a part of the expanding event. About 50 percent of the entrants were from other hailing ports, some coming from as far away as southern New Jersey. The three days of racing and celebration saw lots of great contests, despite the lack of wind at the Friday tune-up race that led to the event being called, for hopelessness, and to prevent boats being on the course long after dark.
Saturday's race was a genuine sailing challenge. At the start, the weather featured low clouds and fluky winds. On the first leg west in Vineyard Sound along the Elizabeth Islands, sailors found themselves crossing the ferry and shipping channels in what was, at times, less than 100 yards of visibility in fog, with plenty of wind and occasional sprinkles. Small honks of air horns on the yachts answered the great horns of the ferries, and more than a few surprised captains, before the racers had cleared the lanes. As the boats emerged from the fog in Quicks Hole, an interesting match developed between Malabar II and Sheena, the newly launched 29-foot gaff rig sloop out of the shop at Gannon and Benjamin. Ross Gannon, with his wife and nine-year-old twins and two hardy sailing buffs, led a much larger Malabar II, captained by owner Jim Lobdell, around Lone Rock, at the northern end of the hole, and took off toward Robinson's Hole. Jim followed, and as the rest of the fleet passed through Quicks for the run back to the east, they saw Sheena flying through Robinson's with Malabar II in hot pursuit. Once clear of Robinson's, the larger schooner with her bigger rig overtook the small sloop, but not without a tip of the hat.
The afternoon cleared with a fine wind to drive the fleet back down the sound and up into the finish in Vineyard Haven. A healthy flotilla of spectators enjoyed a visually splendid finish with state-of-the-art boats mixing it up with old-world wood and canvas power and grace.
Sunday's race began with individual starting times reflecting the standings from the previous day's race. The race started off on a very light downwind leg, complicated by a strong easterly current that soon had the fleet spread all over the sound. The lighter boats did well in the light air, but only the current-savvy sailors ended up rounding the first mark in good shape. The heavier boats slogged along as well as they could until the wind started building, and the race was on between the two Alden Malabars from Vineyard Haven, Phra Luang and Malabar II.
They match-raced right to the finish with Jim Lobdell nosing across seconds ahead of Phra Luang. Another thrilling finish had the crew of carpenters and friends from G&B aboard Sheena crossing the finish line in the shadow of the bowsprit of Juno as the big powerful schooner bore down like a freight train on the small sloop - only a little too late.