Vineyarders sail to Cape and Islands Fleet Racing title

MVRHS beats out 12 other schools to win event for the first time.

From left: Zach Ward, Henry Kyburg Abbott, Joe Serpa, Trent Bilodeau, Miles Wolff, and Abigail Hammarlund. — Andrew Burr

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) sailing team ended the season on a high note by winning its first-ever Cape and Islands Fleet Racing Championship on Wednesday afternoon at the Hyannis Yacht Club. The win was a perfect bookend to the C&I Team Racing title, captured by the Vineyarders on May 11 at the same venue.

Barnstable High School hosted the event, and 13 schools took part, sailing on Lewis Bay. Winds were shifty out of the north, with puffs up to 15 mph for most of the afternoon. “It was a great breeze,” said Vineyard Coach Andrew Burr. “It switched to the southwest for the last two A and B Division races, which makes for a totally different course.”

The Vineyarders won B Division with nine points, and placed fourth in A Division with 24, finishing atop the standings with 33 total points, ahead of Barnstable (49), Falmouth (50), Dartmouth (53), St. John Paul II (65), Bishop Stang (68), Nantucket (81), Sandwich (92), Nauset (94), Sturgis (109), Monomoy (119), Dennis-Yarmouth (125), and Old Rochester (168).

Freshmen skipper Miles Wolff and crew Henry Kyburg Abbott sailed together in all but two of the B Division races for the Vineyarders, while skipper Joe Serpa and crew Abigail Hammarlund, both juniors, did the same in A Division. For the final two races in each division, Hammarlund crewed with Wolff, and Bilodeau with Serpa.

“It was an excellent day,” said Coach Burr. “We had never won this before. It’s another highlight of the season. It was a dominating performance. It was just a great event to have all the Cape and Island schools [together]. It was really well done, with a lot of good competition for a weekday to pull it all off.”

The win in Hyannis was a big lift for the Vineyarders, who had a tough day on the water, sailing for the Terk Trophy at Sail Maine in Portland on May 18.

The No. 11 Vineyarders came to the Terk, which comprises schools ranked 9-16 in New England, as third favorites behind No. 9 Choate Rosemary Hall of Wallingford, Conn., and No. 10 St. John’s Prep of Danvers. MVRHS is ranked third among public schools in New England, behind only Marblehead and Greenwich, Conn.

Due to a conflict with the junior prom, scheduled the same weekend as the New England Championships (President’s and Terk Trophy), which has been a problem in the past, Coach Burr had an especially young group of sailors on hand, with skipper/crew combinations of Zach Ward (sophomore)/Trent Bilodeau (sophomore), Caleb Burt (sophomore)/Ingrid Moore (freshman), and Miles Wolff (freshman)/Henry Kyburg Abbott (freshman).

The Vineyarders sailed well in their seven races throughout the long day, but came up empty. MVRHS had the first-place boat twice, in races against Choate Rosemary and Barnstable, but their opponents forged a 2-3-4 combination to win on points, 9-12. The closest contest came in the third race of the day against No. 12 Fairfield Ludlowe of Connecticut. The Vineyarders finished 2-3-6, but the Falcons placed 1-4-5 to win, 10-11. “We were competitive all day,” Coach Burr said. “It was a good learning opportunity for people who haven’t gone before to sail at a championship-level event.”

Final StandingsA DivisionB DivisionTotal Points
St. John Paul II313465
Bishop Stang224668
Old Rochester8484168