Vineyard sailors anticipate 28th Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race

In this file photo, captains line up at the start of the 2015 Pat West Gaff Rig Race. -Abbie Roger

Martha’s Vineyard sailors, and those who love sailboats, will gather for the 28th Pat West Gaff Rig and Schooner Race on Saturday, Sept. 17, on Vineyard Sound. The specific race courses vary between 10 and 17 nautical miles and vary, but the start is in Vineyard Haven Harbor. Eastville Beach, West Chop and East Chop will provide good vantage points for spectators. Racing begins at 11 am.

The last day to register is Friday, Sept. 16, when race organizers hold a skippers’ meeting at 5:30 pm at the Tisbury Wharf aboard the schooner Adventure. Online registration is also available at

This year’s race will feature a special treat. The schooner Adventure will carry passengers and participate in the race. Adventure is a National Historic Landmark, a Project of Save America’s Treasures, and the only Gloucester dory fishing schooner certified by the Coast Guard to sail with passengers. For more information go to

The annual Pat West Race benefits SailMV, a youth sailing program, and is named in honor of Francis (Pat) West, an intrepid, talented, beloved Vineyard sailor and storyteller who loved gaff-rig sailboats. An engineer and problem solver, he worked for the Sperry Gyroscope Co. for 30 years. He died at age 96 on the Fourth of July, 2002.