Saturday storm just the ticket for speed sailors

Jamie Douglas, in action during the North Atlantic Speed Sailing Invitational in Oak Bluffs, last month. — Photo by Damien LeRoy

Driving rain and wind gusts of more than 40 mph on Sengekontacket Pond in Oak Bluffs, Saturday, provided superb conditions for competitors in the inaugural North American Speed Sailing Invitational, that began on Oct. 17 and concluded Monday.

Speed sailing world record holder Rob Douglas, CEO of Black Dog Tavern won the event, followed by Alex Caizergues, and Jamie Douglas.

The NASSI featured average speeds of 50.99 knots over 250 meters, with a maximum speed of 55.04 knots, the fastest ever on a natural course and the second fastest in competition.

The NASSI was the first speed sailing event in North American history and the first with port tack racing.

Mr. Douglas organized the event as a tryout for the Vineyard as a venue. At stake was a purse of $27,000, the largest in the sport, offered by Lynch Associates, a Boston financial firm sponsors of the event.

In addition to Mr. Douglas, women’s world record holder Charlotte Consorti, and ten other world class speed sailors competed in the Island event.