Holmes Hole is back on the water

Unpredictable winds make for stop-and-go sailing.


After a week’s hiatus because of the Vineyard Cup and a canceled Thursday race, the Holmes Hole Sailing Association (HHSA) was back on the water on Sunday.

The day dawned sunny and calm — too calm. The morning race was mercifully suspended after several sailors anchored off Can 23A to avoid an unscheduled visit to Oak Bluffs. Those without motors were towed in, always an ignominious finish.

By 2 pm, a measurable but capricious breeze had materialized. It seemed to be coming from the southeast, shifting to south, but at the same time, some serviceable wind came down the Sound from Aquinnah, plus there was some west wind close to the West Chop shore. And there were also unpredictable holes where it died altogether, and a clutch of boats, having all caught each other, would bounce around until another change moved them on their way.

Meanwhile, a few hundred yards away, there might be boats well heeled over in a fresh breeze. Thus, a familiar course became a puzzling and frustrating challenge. In the end, everyone finished within a half-hour bracket. It’s safe to say that those who showed up for both races were pretty well sunbaked by 4:30.

In the A Division, Troubador, an Express 37 from the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club skippered by Will Felder, took first place. Phil Hale’s J100 Tango danced away with second, and Après, a J120 sailed by Steve Besse, was third.

Tamu, an Alerion 28, belonging to Tom Westcott, won the B Division, topping Penelope, another Alerion 28, sailed by Mo Flam, by 18 seconds of elapsed time. Peter Goodale, aboard Stormalong II, a Kirby 25, was third.

Holmes Hole Sailing Association races are held on Thursdays and Sundays. All are welcome. Visit holmeshole.org for details.