Good wind, good turnout

Skippers were happy to be back on the water.


Because both races were abandoned the previous week, sailing enthusiasm was running high, as was the tide, on Thursday evening, July 5. The were 24 starters, the best number ever for this early in the season. A sparkling evening that included a brisk 15-knot breeze carried optimism to the heavier boats, and those hopes were justified at the finish.

Jerry Goodale sailed his Catalina 34, Sienna, to victory in the A Division. King Kiwi, a Sabre 38 skippered by Irving Gates came in second, and new arrival Full Circle, Geof Gibson’s Hanze 455, was third.

Encore, a Gannon and Benjamin ketch sailed by Tom Graham, took the top spot in the B Division. In second was Tamu, an Alerion 28 with owner Tom Wescott at the helm. Commodore Mo Flam’s Alerion 28 Penelope edged out Stuart Halpert’s Providence, another Alerion, by 49 seconds.

Sunday, although lovely, was not exactly a sailor’s delight. Holmes Hole sailors held a pursuit race to Tarpaulin Cove for the first time, and 12 boats set off over a period of 37 minutes. Start times are determined by handicap, the object being for all to finish around the same time. A disappointingly light northeast wind of only 3 knots nudged them gently on their way. Around two hours later, the wind moved to the northwest, and then quickly around to the southwest for a conventional beat up the Sound. By that time a foul current had added to the challenge.

For Division A, Scheggia, Tim Gollin’s Brenta 38, won the day, with Troubador five minutes later and Tango close behind. Troubador is a Vineyard Haven Yacht Club Express 34, and Tango is a J100 owned and sailed by Phil Hale.

Penelope finished first in the B Division, with Altius, a Stuart Knockabout belonging to Alan Wilson, just 47 seconds behind her. Tamu was third by a tiny margin, just 16 seconds later than Altius, which demonstrates the accuracy of the handicaps. Because of the long slog to the finish, the turnaround time was speedy. It was a long enough day without anchoring in the cove for lunch. Plus, for most it was past lunchtime.

Holmes Hole Sailing Association will take a break this week so that members can support Sail Martha’s Vineyard and sail in the annual Vineyard Cup Race. Normally HHSA races are held on Thursdays and Sundays. All are welcome. Please consult for details.