The 42nd annual Moffett Race set a new standard of perfection that will be hard to even approach in years to come: a glorious late summer day, a sporting and consistent 13 mph west-southwest breeze, and a Vineyard Sound course that presented a largely fair tide in both directions.
George Moffett, a passionate and accomplished sailor for whom the race is named, was one of the founders of the Holmes Hole Sailing Association. He would have been just as delighted as the 23 happy finishers with the perfect conditions. For the first time in 42 years, the race was postponed from Saturday to Sunday because of remnants of Hurricane Dorian. Only once, many years ago, did the race accommodate the weather, when it was shortened to get everyone ashore before a hurricane struck. This year many boats had been hauled in anticipation of the storm, resulting in fewer competitors than usual.
Chocolate Chip, a Marshall Cat 22 sailed by Rich Washington, placed third on Sunday. Another Catboat, a Stimson Cat, Julia Lee, skippered by Woody Bowman, took second place. The winner was Alan Wilson sailing Altius, a Stuart Knockabout. This is Alan’s third time winning the Moffett, sailing a different boat each time. A hat trick. On Sunday he had three reasons to celebrate: He won the race, it was his birthday, and he welcomed a granddaughter, his first grandchild. Another hat trick for Alan.
On Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Holmes Hole Sailing Association held its end-of-season potluck supper and awards ceremony. Some 27 different boats sailed during the season, which is eight fewer than last year. Similarly, there were 232 starters, as compared with 256 in 2018. There doesn’t seem to be a good explanation for the lower numbers, and the hope is that this year was an anomaly. The racing is such good fun that anyone with a sailboat would do well to join up.
The season champions in the A Division were Tom and Laurie Welch aboard Escape, a J100. Jerry Goodale was second, sailing his Catalina 34, Sienna. Phil Hale, skipper of the J100 Tango, took third place.
Third place in the B Division was won by Alan Wilson at the helm of Altius. Mo and Pam Flam’s Alerion 28, Penelope, came in second, while Tom and Holly Wescott sailed the Alerion 28, Tamu, into first.
The Dan Culkin Award for best participation was a remarkable three-way tie: Tom Wescott, Tom Welch, and Alan Wilson. All had perfect scores.
The final award, the Jewett, for best overall performance for the season, went to Tom Wescott. His Tamu lived up to her name, which means “everything lovely about life” in Swahili.