Holmes Hole Sailing Association tunes up for racing season

Thirteen boats joined in the race across Vineyard Sound on a brisk Sunday.

Alan Wilson on Altius in Sunday's race. — Elizabeth Stout

Sunday presented itself as a sparkling, picture-perfect day for the Holmes Hole Sailing Association tune-up race of the 2016 summer season on Martha’s Vineyard. Thirteen boats in both A and B divisions started north across Vineyard Sound to Falmouth in a brisk southerly breeze. The next leg was a short westerly reach, followed by a long beat to windward going home.

Some chose to make a long easterly tack on the Falmouth side, followed by just one more long tack back across the current into the harbor. Others followed a more zigzag course across the sound and home. The main factor to consider was a strong ebbing tide flowing west that wanted to push boats down the sound, past the harbor. Also to be avoided was the strong outflow from West Chop. In the end, regardless of strategy, nine of the 13 finished the two- to three-hour race within two minutes on corrected time.

Escape, a J100 sailed by Tom and Laurie Welch, came in first on both corrected and elapsed time. Jim Dixon’s At Last, an Alerion Express 28, was second, and Troubadour was third. Skippered by Zander Meleney and Will Felder of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, Troubadour, an Express 37, was given to the Vineyard Sailing Foundation by Ed Weintraub. The foundation was started by Hugh Schwarz many years ago, and promotes sailing on the Island. In fact, several Vineyard sailors have had help from the foundation for Olympic sailing campaigns.

Three new boats joined the fleet: two Alerion 28s, Tamu, owned by Tom and Holly Westcott, and Angelina, sailed by John and Lisa Stout. This brings the total number of Alerion 28s to seven. Another new boat skippered by a longtime HHSA sailor, Alan Wilson, is a Stuart Knockabout named Altius.