Friday was a challenge for Vineyard Cup fleet

Most competitors fought a strong tidal current in Vineyard Sound for the opening race of the three day regatta.

Vineyard Cup competitors found the currents in Vineyard Sound a formidable opponent Friday. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Vineyard Cup competitors were tested Friday by the strong and unruly currents of Vineyard Sound, and for the most part, the current won.

Under the rules of the race, the first boat in each of the three classes must finish in less than three hours.

All went well for Class 1, with Bob Cunningham’s J30 Ruffian finishing first on corrected time.

But with the current pushing hard to the west, the other two classes had a tough time on the last leg of the race, from a buoy outside of Woods Hole, back to Vineyard Haven Harbor. Against the wind, and against the current, the first boat was unable to finish in the three hour time limit, which effectively ended the race. All the boats in Class 2 and Class 3 were eliminated, despite sailing a long, challenging day.

There was some grumbling among the captains and crew of the 30 boats who raced but recorded only a “TLE” (time limit elimination), or withdrew from the race.

Race Director Brock Callen said the situation was unfortunate, but he made a tough call not to shorten the course in mid-race, when the fastest of the boats round the mark for the final four-mile leg with one hour, 38 minutes left in the three hour time limit.

Racing resumed on Saturday at 10 am, and again Sunday at 10:30 am.

The best place to view the start of the races is from Eastville Beach, near the Lagoon Pond drawbridge. Depending on the course and the weather, other good viewing spots are The East Chop Light on Telegraph Hill, and Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the race director as Brock Callahan. It was Brock Callen.