Nearing the end

Tamu leads Penelope at the start. — Lisa Stout

There are only two more races in the official 2022 season for the Holmes Hole Sailing Association. In terms of this year’s championship, Mo Flam’s Penelope, an Alerion 28, is likely too far ahead of the fleet to lose the No. 1 position, but second and third places are still up for grabs. As was seen on Thursday evening, there are always myriad factors that determine the winner. In that race, the three bigger, faster boats came in together well ahead of the other six, because they were able to take advantage of the wind at the beginning of the race, and finish before getting stalled in the dying breeze and foul current, as did the rest of the fleet. There was a frustrating period of bobbing around going nowhere, and then the wind picked up again enough to bring everyone in about 25 minutes later. No. 1 was Apres, Steve Besse’s J 120, first over the line in under an hour. Another J boat, Truckin’, sailed by Zander Meleny, came in second, and Wendell Colson’s Alerion 33, Silhouette, was third.

Nine sailors came out on Sunday to try a new 10.8-mile course into the Sound. A 10- to 12-knot easterly wind kept the group together until, again, a strong ebbing tide stirred up a chop and slowed things down. Artful Dodger, a Tartan 3500 sailed by Mike Powers, managed the difficulties the best, and came in first. Because he sails over twice a week from Falmouth to race, he is likely the most familiar with the quirky currents in the Sound. Tom and Laurie Welch’s J 100, Escape, was second, and Penelope was third. 

Seven 12½s raced on Sunday as well. Phil Hale writes, “Well, the ‘Sailing Gods’ are still smiling on us. It was an extraordinary day. As those of you who participated in the race well know, there is little more beautiful on the water than a relatively tight group of Nat Herreshoff’s ‘masterpiece’ making its way around a course.” Phil won sailing Whirlwind; his brother Tom was second on Leap of Faith, and Moon Shadow was third. 

Next weekend there is a two-day regatta with Edgartown and Menemsha. There may be as many as 20 Herreshoffs competing, and there will be a gathering at the VHYC following the races on Saturday afternoon. As an added treat, the Yacht Club will run an observation boat starting at 12:30 for as long as visitors wish to watch the races. Please call to reserve a slot, as it should be good fun.