Martha’s Vineyard sailors win three of four

Katie Johnson and Jesse Thomas in action during the second race Friday afternoon. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School sailing team enjoyed a successful week on the water.

The Vineyarders competed in best of three matches in Marion Saturday against powerful Tabor Academy, Dartmouth, and Dennis-Yarmouth.

M.V. beat Darmouth for the first time in a long while, 2-1, beat D-Y by the same count, and lost to Tabor, 2-1.

Just getting a win over Tabor was an accomplishment for the Vineyarders, who had a reasonable chance to pull off the upset. M.V. led at the start in the first race but couldn’t close it out. “You have to be aggressive, at the start and throughout the race,” Vineyard coach Andrew Burr said. The one win in the series with Tabor still helped the Vineyard in the computer rankings.

Friday, on Lagoon Pond, the Purple and White hosted Bishop Stang of North Dartmouth. The Islanders won the match three races to one.

The Spartans took the first race and M.V. battled back to win the next two.

In the fourth race of the best of five series, the Spartans held the 1-2 spots heading into to the upwind leg and looked certain to tie the series. James Ulyatt and Jake Sudarsky beat the odds and overtook the second-place boat. Their seamanship enabled teammates Raz Sayre and Tyler Shapiro and Jesse Thomas and Katie Johnson to grab the 3-4 spots. With a 2-3-4 finish, the Vineyarders clinched the series.

Coach Burr was more than satisfied with the week’s results. “It was a fantastic week, it sets us up really well going forward with our goal being to get into the Mark Trophy (The New England Team Racing Championships),” he said.

The Vineyarders are a member of the New England Scholastic Sailing Association (NESSA) and compete with 11 other schools in the Cape and Islands League. The top eight teams in NESSA qualify for the Mark Throphy. The Vineyard’s best chance to reach the tourney would likely come from clinching a wild card spot (the 4th through 8th ranked teams). The wild cards compete in four regions or spots. The school who wins each round robin series clinches a berth.

Currently, M.V. is 4-4 overall, but is unbeaten in league competition.

The Vineyarders next sail against Lincoln-Sudbury today at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, Friday on Lagoon Pond against St. Sebastian’s of Needham, and Tuesday on the Lagoon against Harwich.