Sail MV plans Vineyard Cup Race and Seafaring Festival Weekend
Sail Martha's Vineyard will host a new sailing race and community celebration on July 7 to 9. Tom Rancich, executive director of the non-profit based in Vineyard Haven, announced the race weekend plans Wednesday. Sail Martha's Vineyard is dedicated to preserving and promoting knowledge of the Vineyard's seafaring traditions.
The Vineyard Cup Race and Seafaring Festival Weekend will be a major new race attraction on the summer calendar for Island sailors and top competitors from neighboring ports across the Cape, Nantucket, and throughout New England, Mr. Rancich said in a news release. The occasion will also serve as a weekend-long celebration of the Island's maritime history and seafaring traditions, with family-oriented activities, music and entertainment, group participation events, tours of the Vineyard's classic ships and boat-building facilities, and much more being planned.
Tom Rancich, SailMV director, and Peg Schwier, chairman, announced Vineyard Cup plans yesterday. Photo by Ralph Stewart
"Vineyard Cup Weekend promises to be an exciting new event and a meaningful annual tradition for the Island community and summer visitors alike," Mr. Rancich said. "We are bringing sailing and the lore and ways of the sea front and center for everyone to enjoy in a way that's never been done before. The centerpiece is a new, world-class race event, and that will be amplified throughout the weekend by a number of lively companion events."
The racecourse has been selected for its proximity to land, along the Island's shores for easy viewing. Race watchers will be able to follow the competition in live coverage from the Vineyard Cup Race Festival Grounds, where a race announcer and leader board will update the progress of the race.
Vineyard Cup Festival Weekend will serve the non-profit organization as a fundraising vehicle, Mr. Rancich said. Its success will enable Sail Martha's Vineyard to support and broaden its youth sailing programs, teaching initiatives in Island schools, adult sailing instruction, and various cultural and seafaring-history-based activities.
Sail Martha's Vineyard board member Philip Hale, owner of Martha's Vineyard Shipyard, proposed the race idea. The race and event organizing effort is being led by Mr. Hale, fellow board members Brock Callen and Peggy Schwier, the current chairman, and Island resident and corporate event producer Charles Furlong.
The Vineyard Cup Race will occur on Sunday, July 9, off Vineyard Haven.
The race will offer the following divisions, although if entries in either or both divisions warrant, classes will be designated based on rating:
The Heritage Division is for all vessels, classic or modern, greater than 24 feet in length wishing to sail under the Holmes Hole handicap system, a local handicapping system, which does not permit the use of spinnakers.
The Grand Prix Division is for all vessels wishing to race under a PHRF certificate.
Vessels entered in either division will be eligible to enter with vessels from other Divisions/Classes as a team and compete for the team championship and the Bronze Lobster Trophy.
Descriptions of courses and additional information are available from SailMV.
The Weekend race events will also feature the East Coast Junior Olympic Windsurfing Championship (Saturday, July 8) under the direction of Olympic windsurfing competitor Nevin Sayre; the Vineyard Cup Gig Race Championship (Saturday, July 8), which will be part of the new Northeast Championship Gig Racing Series, and the Vineyard Cup Junior Regatta (Friday, July 7).
Vineyard Cup Weekend festival activities and additional sailing events are currently being organized and will be announced as they are confirmed, SailMV announced. A complete schedule of events for The Vineyard Cup Race and Seafaring Festival Weekend will be announced in April.
Already scheduled for the weekend: Sail Martha's Vineyard's annual Seafood Buffet & Auction, Saturday night, July 8; and The Vineyard Cup Seafaring Festival, Sunday, July 9, the official race-watching gathering on Vineyard Haven Harbor that will feature live race coverage and family entertainment.