Yankee Girl wins Venona Trophy in Round-the-Island race

Race has an 80-year history.


Edgartown Yacht Club’s ‘Round-the-Island — one of America’s oldest distance races — originated in 1938, and except for the years of World War II, has been an annual event since then on Martha’s Vineyard.

“The race was first conceptualized to be reminiscent of the race around the Isle of Wight in England, which was the course of the first America’s Cup,” said Hal Findlay, EYC Big Boat Racing Committee co-chairman. “The distance around Martha’s Vineyard (56 nautical miles) is only a few miles longer; both courses have view of cliffs, headlands, villages, and open water; and the tidal currents and wind effects are important in both.”

This year the yacht club ran two races; the full Round-the-Island 56 nautical miles and a shorter course, 20 nautical miles, ‘Round-the-Sound.

There were 45 boats in six classes, which started on a cloudy, foggy morning with a chilly east breeze and ended the day with a stronger breeze. At points during the start off Cape Poge, you couldn’t even see Edgartown due to the fog.

“This race around Martha’s Vineyard is the most interesting of any circular race I’ve ever done around an island,” said Donald Tofias said, whose W-Boat won the race in 2000. “It can be windy, light, foggy, sunny … we’ve seen all conditions, and it’s all hands on deck all the time. We were famous in 2000 when we raced neck-and-neck with another W-Class yacht, White Wing, and set a record for rounding in six hours and 41 minutes. We held that record for nine years. I was aboard Wild Wings for the 2000 race, and it was truly spectacular. Other times I’ve been in huge rollers off the south coast. This regatta

is quite challenging and provides a variety of conditions.”

Here are the results of this year’s race:

The Doublehanded team of Zachary Lee (Pelham/Chilmark) and Leif Counter (West Tisbury) aboard the Morris 36 Yankee Girl wins the most coveted trophy, the Venona Trophy. This team also won the Doublehanded division in last month’s Newport-to-Bermuda race. The team joins the prestigious list of Verona Trophy winners, which has been growing since 1938 and traditionally has been sailed by fully crewed boats, including well-known yachts such as Sayanora, Scheherazade, Vesper, and Sled.

Winning the largest class, PHRF B, with 12 boats, was Ed Dailey’s (Beverly) J/109 Raptor. Along with fellow Beverly Yacht Club teams aboard the J/35 Riva and the Peterson 34 Kanga (which tied for first in PHRF C), he also won the Yacht Club Team Trophy for “best corrected time of a three-boat yacht club team with entries in more than one division.”
Douglas Curtiss’s J/111 Wicked 2.0 won PHRF A, while Gus Carlson’s Reichel Pugh 66 Aurora finished the race in five hours, 55 minutes, to take home the Concord Cup for best elapsed time among spinnaker classes.
Chip Hawkins’ C&C 41 Caneel, which won the PHRF Non-Spinnaker class, posting an elapsed time of five hours, 32 minutes, also won its class in the ’Round-the-Buoy races.
Ron Zarrella’s Taylor 49 Blackfish was also a winner in both the RTI and RTB races. He sailed in the Classic class.
The Round-the-Sound fleet, which started directly after the RTI boats, finished midday on Saturday, sailing a course that took them seven miles toward Hyannis then four miles west and six miles back home. Edgartown Yacht Club’s Commodore Paul Mitchell won the class in his Shields Amusing.