Vineyard Cup triumphs over tides, temperatures

Boats of all sizes and rigs competed together in the Vineyard Cup races over the weekend. — File photo by Louisa Gould

Under sultry sunny skies, through plenty of stiff breeze, and most of the time dead against the inexorable and strong currents of Island waters, the Vineyard Cup fleet competed in three days of racing last weekend.

Racing in Sail Martha’s Vineyard’s signature event was always competitive, sometimes intense, and mostly fun. The parties that followed the racing each evening, under a big white tent in Owen Park, were entirely fun. The fleet sailed courses around buoys In Nantucket Sound on Friday and Sunday, sandwiched around a 26-mile distance race to Tarpaulin Cove and back on Saturday.

According to the posted results for corrected time, veteran racer Bob Lurie of Lexington skippered Mischief, an Alerion 26, to a first place finish in Class 1 in each of the three races, to win overall honors for the regatta. Second overall was Serenity, a C&C 29 skippered by Benjamin Block of Barrington, R. I. Third was Latonka, the familiar sleek wooden one design sailed by Geoff Gibson of Vineyard Haven.

In Class 2, skipper Stephen Besse in his J/120 Apres captured overall honors, according to amended results. Jim Lengle of Portsmouth, R. I., with Top Cat, an Alerion Express 38 yawl was second. Tom Tetrault of Georgetown was second with Facet, a Bristol 355.

First place overall in Class 3 went to skipper David Nesbitt, who traveled with his crew from Melbourne, Florida, for the event. They sailed Epic, a Hinterholler 25.

In the gaff-rigged class, Juno, the Gannon & Benjamin built 65-foot schooner owned by Robert Soros of Chilmark, finished first in all three races to sail away with overall honors.

(Complete Vineyard Cup results available here.)

More than 50 boats competed in the main events. Sail Martha’s Vineyard puts the emphasis on fun, and the range of competitors is always impressive. Top competitive sailors mix it up on the course with cruising sailors and novice racers. High-tech racing sleds go tack for tack with catboats built more than a century ago.

At one point just before the start of Race 1 on Friday, the square topsail schooner Shenandoah passed by to take a peek at the fleet, as the gaff-rigged schooner Alabama maneuvered behind the line. Michael Toomey, competing in his first sailing race, looked at the towering sails and exclaimed, “I feel like I should be discovering a continent or something.”