The big story to come out of the Holmes Hole Sailing Association’s summer series of racing is the growing number of boats that are turning up at the starting line each week. Last week was a perfect example with 20 boats competing on Thursday and 17 entrants heading out for the Sunday race to Chappaquiddick.
Northeast winds up to 15 mph and more set the racers off to Chappy on a short beat to get around Can 23a, then falling off for a reach to the Red Nun 4 at the entrance to the outer harbor at Edgartown. Another beat northeast to Can 3 was followed by a dead-downwind run to the finish.
There were lots of interesting possibilities for success, but the A Division Alerion 28s found the course and wind speed most to their liking. Jim Dixon captured his first win of the season on At Last followed by season leader Mo Flam aboard Penelope. Stuart Halpert grabbed third on Providence, making it a trio of Alerions at the top.
Guest boat Rascal, a C&C 40 sailed by Charlie Burckmyer of Edgartown, joined the fray, continuing the outreach to include boats outside of Vineyard Haven.
In the B Division, Bow Van Riper got his Vineyard 15 Tyche moving briskly to take the blue ribbon by nearly three minutes over Woody Bowman in Wonder, a Gannon & Benjamin Tern (yawl). Third place went to David McDonough who single-handed his C&C 37 Trinity to yet another in-the-money finish.
The rising tide of competitors makes for a crammed starting line and close finishes and Thursday evening’s race with 20 boats put skippers to the test. Dying northeast wind made for some nervousness in the back half of the fleet, but everyone finished the loop around the harbor buoys before the light left the harbor.
The earlier setting sun, while creating a dazzling light show for racers, is a bittersweet reminder that the days, and the sailing season, are getting shorter.
Sunday, August 31, is the final racing day for the summer series with starts at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
This year’s Moffett Race will be held on Saturday, Sept. 6. Sign up at regattanetwork.com.