On Thursday, seven boats made quick work of the Vineyard Haven harbor triangle, sailing the 3.2 mile course in about 15 knots of north-north easterly wind and slop left over from the earlier 20-plus knots in the late morning.
Frank Sutula’s Soma Holiday won the race followed by Tom Wescott’s Tamu in second, and Mike Powers’ Artful Dodger in third. Powers’ strong performance put him in striking distance of the season’s cup, only one point behind Roger Becker’s Gloria.
Eleven boats raced Course 9 on Sunday afternoon in 10 knots of wind with a windward starting leg. After a nail-biting start (tight ranks across the line were stunned to see Gloria’s red hull sneaking through a slight gap beside the race committee boat only seconds after the horn), the racers jockeyed around their first buoy in Vineyard Haven Harbor. The rest of Course 9 took the fleet into the Sound, over to Nobska off Woods Hole, then east to the west end of L’ Homme Dieu shoal, then to the west end of Hedge Fence, and back home to the finish at Nun 6 in the harbor. The winds were lighter than forecasted, and unfortunately dropped off towards the end of the race, to the consternation of the slower boats finishing 15 minutes or so after the faster half of the fleet. Halfway through the race, the fleet welcomed an unlikely competitor when a 2,000-passenger cruise ship cut through their course on its tour of New England ports. The horn blared at the HH fleet, but competitors were reluctant to adjust course; the season’s victory hinged on the day’s race results.
In the end, Mike Powers’ Artful Dodger, skippered by his usual crew, Rob Egemeier, closed off Roger Becker’s Gloria and clinched the Jewett Cup for the 2023 season with the win. Adam and Elizabeth Hayes took Bliss to second place, and Gloria finished third.
This is the first Jewett Cup win for Artful Dodger’s Mike Powers, who has raced in Holmes Hole for over 9 seasons, starting in 2014. Powers’ commitment to the race series has been unquestionable, considering the Falmouth native’s trek across the Vineyard Sound for each race.
Great weather, strong competition, and high spirits resulted in a perfect Labor Day weekend and end to the 2023 summer season.
Congratulations to all the enthusiastic, dedicated sailors who joined the fun throughout the summer! Boats of all sizes and sailors of all skill levels joined the races and made for a great season of competition and camaraderie.
Post-season races await brave fall competitors, starting with the Moffett Cup race that takes place on Saturday, September 9. Nearly 30 boats have signed up so far.