Herreshoff debut at Holmes Hole

Heading out. — Lisa Stout

Thursday evening saw the first appearance of the Herreshoff 12½ fleet for an inaugural race around Vineyard Haven Harbor. The three 12½s started 15 minutes ahead of the 14 Holmes Hole sailors, and sailed a shortened course. In the end, Charlie Felder, sailing Bazinga, beat out Whirlwind and Pandora for his first win. The unusual east wind at 10 knots made for a reaching start, and a speedy triangle for both fleets.

Bow Van Riper scored his third win in a row sailing Tyche, a Vineyard 15, which (good news and bad news), subjects him to a 10-second-per-mile penalty for the rest of the season. Jerry Goodale skippered Sienna, his Catalina 34, into the second spot, while Roger Becker’s Gloria, a C&C24, slipped into third.

It was good sailing news Sunday morning, with clear skies and a good southwest breeze of 15 knots. With temperatures near 90, it was certainly more comfortable on the water than ashore. After a half-mile windward leg, the course headed across the sound to Falmouth. With strong ebbing current and substantial wind, the waves set up, and the water was confused, making for a pretty bouncy and exhilarating ride.

The 10.6-mile HHSA course took most sailors just about two hours. The speediest sailor was Steve Besse at 1.41.51 (elapsed), and the longest sail was by Gloria at almost 2½ hours. The J 35, Bliss, sailed by Adam Hayes, won first place, just two seconds ahead (corrected time) of Angelina, an Alerion 28, sailed by John Stout. Another Alerion 28, Jim Dixon’s At Last, was third. Among the four Herreshoffs, sailing a separate course, the order was: Whirlwind, Bazinga, Pandora, Sweet Pea. They are such a fine addition to the races, looking like cheerful little birds skimming over the water.

Holmes Hole races are held on Thursdays and Sundays. All are welcome. Please check holmeshole.org for details.