Interest Grows for Edgartown Weekend
Published on July 16th, 2017
With early registrations up 35% over last year, Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend promises to make its 79th edition on July 20 to 22 one to remember. The event on Martha’s Vineyard offers two days of buoy racing followed by a signature 56-mile ‘Round-the-Island Race that started it all back in 1938.
Expected are over 70 teams, including many veterans plus currently 16 new teams, which all have the choice of sailing one, two or all three days.
“We put extra effort into helping people with mooring reservations this year and getting them signed up early,” said Event Chair Hal Findlay. “It’s really an event where people have so much fun, and they spread the word to others about it and how wonderful the Vineyard is to visit.”
Bob Snyder is one of those who knows the event well. He has a home in Edgartown and has competed at Edgartown Race Weekend close to 20 times. This year, he will switch to a cruising spinnaker class after having sailed his Little Harbor 53 Resolute for 14 years in non-spinnaker. He and his team are choosing, as they always do, to only sail around the island on Saturday – the final day.
“Resolute is a cruising yacht that, once it gets going, can’t be stopped…but it takes a lot to get it going!” laughed Snyder. “If we get good wind and favorable tides, we do okay, but around the buoys is problematical. She’s too heavy to turn quickly, so we settle for watching those races. On the other hand, the ‘Round-the-Island Race is just a wonderful day of sailing for us, and it’s a great tradition.”
With a first warning signal at 8 a.m., both the cruising and racing yachts typically finish by late afternoon or early evening. In the morning, the fleet sails between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket along the east beach of Chappaquiddick. At midday they are in the open Atlantic Ocean with views of the south coast of the Vineyard. In the afternoon, rounding the cliffs of Gay Head, the fleet sails up Vineyard Sound. If the tidal currents or wind conditions make going slow, the Race Committee may shorten course to finish just north of Menemsha.
“Just going along the south shore is a real treat that not many people get to enjoy, because cruising sailors usually stick to the Sounds and Cape Cod Bay, said Snyder. “In a sense, it’s much like it was 100 years ago, because there’s not much development.”
While Snyder is a local diehard, more teams come from afar than from the island itself.
Arthur Santry, of Arlington, Va. and Newport, R.I. has skippered his Ker 50 Temptation Oakcliff in the last three Edgartown Race Weekends and will be one to beat in both the ‘Round-the-Buoy races and the ‘Round-the-Island Race. Temptation Oakcliff won its class and finished second overall at Block Island Race Week earlier this summer with its team of 15 sailors, close to half of whom were “Saplings” and “Acorns” from the Oakcliff Sailing program in Oyster Bay, N.Y. Many of these plus some fresh faces will sail with Santry in Edgartown.
“One of my friends on the boat said he’s never been on an amateur boat with such good crew work,” said Santry. “They are fantastic kids, ages 19, 20, 21…one’s from Spain, one’s from Australia…. I can remember doing it at that age. It’s just a ball to be out there with them.”
Santry used to do the ‘Round-the-Island Race back in the ‘80s with his father, whose boats also bore the name Temptation. “I know a lot of people, the race committee runs a really good regatta, and the yacht club is extremely welcoming, so it’s a ton of fun.”