Vineyard sailors take silver in national championship


Four members of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club took silver at the U.S. Adult Sailing Championships for the Clifford D. Mallory Cup. The race took place from last Thursday to Sunday at Texas Corinthian Yacht Club in Kemah, Texas.

Skipper Paul Wilson represented the Southern Massachusetts Sailing Association region with his crew, consisting of Brett Davis, Christina Persson, and Nicholas Watts.

“It feels wonderful,” Wilson said about the second-place win.

While some regions had an elimination process to select their representatives, Wilson was picked by Southern Massachusetts because of his background in sailing. He was given the liberty of choosing his own crew. Davis had taught sailing before, and both Persson and Watts grew up sailing on Martha’s Vineyard.

“I grew up sailing on the Vineyard, and I was used to seeing big fleets in high school and college … I’ve never seen so many boats racing so tightly. It was incredible,” Watts said. He had sailed in the Mallory Cup before in New York.

“Vineyard Haven Yacht Club is where we all have our roots,” Wilson said.

The sailors sailed on Sonar class boats for the races this year. Wilson said his crew was familiar with Sonars because they sail them at the club.

“The U.S. Sailing Association recognizes that every type of boat has its own national championships, which means there are many, many national champions. So what they try to do is hold an overall championship for the sport instead of for a given type of boat, and they change the type of boat every year so that if you’re good at this boat or that boat, it doesn’t help you,” Wilson said. “You just need to be able to excel in the discipline of sailing, instead of a specific type of boat.”

The race organizers provided a total of 10 boats to the sailors, which were rotated among the teams to eliminate any advantages. The teams needed to race on each boat at least once.

“We started with two disastrous results, and were in last place after the first couple of races. We kind of really caught some major momentum, and had a really, really good comeback to win second place in the event,” Wilson said. “We ended up winning four out of the last eight races.”


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