September served up one of her perfect days on Saturday, Sept. 11, for the 44th annual Moffett Race, sponsored by Holmes Hole Sailing Association. The race was established in 1978 by Lucia Moffett in honor of her husband, George, an accomplished sailor who was instrumental in the early days of HHSA.
On Saturday, there was some anxiety before the start as to whether the wind would pick up from the 5- to 6-knot northwesterly breeze at 11. It did, swinging gradually into the west-southwest and gaining strength steadily into the afternoon, reaching 15 knots by 3. The well-chosen course, 16.2 miles, was almost a trapezoid that began by heading into the sound toward Falmouth, and went on toward Edgartown and back. There were 32 boats of all sizes that participated. It was a glorious sight to see so many of our biggest under full sail together.
Results were announced at a post-race gathering on the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club porch. The suspenseful recital began with last place (31st) and ended with the first-place finisher. Peter Cassidy of Marion entered the beautiful, meticulously maintained NY 32, Siren, and won. The NY 32s were built in 1935-36. They are 45 feet overall, and were designed by Olin Stevens. The original cost was $11,000. Remarkably, two-thirds of that fleet is still on the water, an aesthetic gift to us all. Siren’s corrected time was 3:05, eight minutes ahead of Gloria, Roger Becker’s C&C 24. This was Roger’s 39th Moffett. Six minutes later, taking third place, was Adam Hayes sailing Bliss, a J-35c.
Next weekend brings the annual Pat West Gaff Rig race, another visual treat. Additionally, HHSA unofficial races will continue until frost on Thursdays (4 pm start) and Sundays at 1 pm.
An earlier version of this story misidentified Lucia Moffett and misidentified the winning boat’s class.