Fun and fretting in the fog, as the Vineyard Cup sails of age
Light air, heavy air, no air. Pea-soup fog, searing heat. Fierce opposing current, fair tides, slack water. Deep water, sandy shoals, rocky coastline. Sail-slatting tedium, rail-in-the-water exhilaration.
The fourth Vineyard Cup regatta was a study in sailing contrasts, testing the range of racing skill of more than 50 boat crews over three days of racing in Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound, and Menemsha Pond.
"That's a lot of boats," said Brock Callen, director of Sail MV, the organization that sponsors the regatta as a fundraiser. "People like to come here to sail. It's what community sailing is all about, public access for everybody, that is not driven by cost."
"We really have an event now," said Phil Hale, a member of the Sail MV board and a racing competitor as well. "It's really established. It's becoming known as a fun, affordable event."
It was also a grueling test of endurance - not just because of the demanding sailing, but also the parties held under a big tent in Owen Park each evening.
Men's Journal magazine returned as the regatta's presenting sponsor this year. "The Vineyard Cup supports a nonprofit that protects the Island's heritage by providing free sailing lessons to Vineyard children, so it's a fitting partnership," Men's Journal publisher Francis Farrell in a press release.
The Black Dog joined the event as the new hosting sponsor, and won rave reviews for three days of good eats, including Friday evening's lobster roll feast. Also a hit was Sunday's wrap-up dessert, enormous cakes complete with frosting logos of the event sponsors.
"The support we got was wonderful," Mr. Callen said. "The support we got from our sponsors was incredible. It's a good formula."