Holmes Hole sailing season begins

Results from the summer's first races.

From right, Gloria (Roger Becker), Penelope, (Mo Flam) and Altius (Alan Wilson). — John Stout

Undaunted, 11 intrepid sailors turned out on a foggy, drizzly Thursday evening last week to kick off the 2019 Holmes Hole Sailing Association season. On the previous weekend, there had been a potluck dinner and a tune-up race, both designed to put some wind in the sails for Thursday. A 12 mph southeast wind propelled Zenith, a Whitby 45 skippered by Tim Colin, into first place in the A Division. Sienna, Jerry Goodale’s Catalina 34, slipped into second. (The higher the wind, the better Sienna likes it.) Truckin, a J70 sailed by Zander Meleny, came in third on corrected time. 

Gloria took the honors in the B Division. Gloria is a C&C 24 sailed by Roger Becker, the handicap maestro for HHSA. In corrected time, Gloria was a mere 13 seconds ahead of Tamu, an Alerion 28 with owner Tom Westcott at the helm. The Stuart Knockabout sailed by Alan Wilson came in third by less than a minute after Tamu. It isn’t unusual for positions to be determined by seconds in these races, even among a wide variety of boats, thanks to skillful handicapping.

The challenge on Sunday, June 23, was not the weather, which was perfect, but rather the course. A five-mile beat into a 15-knot wind, while fighting a foul current, made the trip down the Sound a struggle for the 14 participants. Some opted for the Vineyard shore inside the rip at Middleground, and some crossed over to the Elizabeth Islands side. Hard to figure out which was the best idea, but the trip home was literally a breeze. 

Apres, a J120 sailed by Steve Besse, finished first in the A Division, ahead of Tom and Laurie Welch’s J100, Escape. In third place was a VHYC Sonar sailed by Mary Worrell. 

Bruce Stewart’s Shields, Tashmoo, took the winning spot in the B Division. Altius, Alan Wilson’s Stuart Knockabout, was second, and Tamu, an Alerion 28, sailed by Tom Wescott, was third, leaving a band of four more Alerions in his wake.

This year there will be just one race on all Sunday afternoons, as well as Thursday evenings. There have been some changes to the scoring as well. Anyone is welcome to participate in the Holmes Hole races. For details, please consult holmeshole.org.