Edgartown: Read/Leech Win Venona Trophy

Published on July 25th, 2021

Edgartown, MA (July 25, 2021) – Sailing doublehanded on the Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 Alchemist, Rhode Islanders Ken Read (Portsmouth) and Suzy Leech (Jamestown), collected a boatload of trophies for their ‘Round-the-Island (‘RTI) Race performance at the annual Edgartown Race Weekend, hosted by Edgartown Yacht Club.al

The most impressive piece of silverware – the prestigious Venona Trophy, which dates back to the origins of the race in 1938 – validated the duo’s overall victory (on best corrected time) in the Spinnaker Division, which hosted six classes. The duo won Class 1/PHRF Spinnaker A; collected the Eolis Trophy as top double-handed boat; and the Yacht Club Team Trophy for best corrected time by a three-boat team (New York Yacht Club).

“What a blast!” said Read, one of the world’s most accomplished sailors with nine World Championships to his name and a Volvo Ocean Race under his belt. “The lesson learned here is that sailing shorthanded doesn’t mean you’re not competitive in the fleet. (Goat Rodeo, which finished second in the same class, also sailed doublehanded to finish second overall in Spinnaker Division)

“It’s my goal at this stage in my career to encourage more sailors to get off the dock, and they can certainly have fun by simplifying with double-handed racing. It’s hard, but anyone can do it with practice; that’s what makes it fun.”

Read, who last competed in Edgartown Race Weekend many years ago aboard a fully crewed 90-foot monohull, enjoyed chasing Goat Rodeo for 56 nautical miles around the island. “It was a slippery boat, sailed really well,” said Read. “They would stretch (out in front of us) and we’d have to catch up. They had to beat us by ten or so minutes at the finish to win, and boy was it harrowing, those last ten minutes of the race.” With Goat Rodeo leading Alchemist over the line by 9 minutes, 50 seconds, Alchemist handicapped out to win by one minute, 22 seconds.

A total of 78 boats competed in the ‘RTI, which also had four Non-Spinnaker classes and a class for Multihulls. The ‘RTI started yesterday at 8 a.m. and was preceded by two days of ‘Round-the-Buoys Racing.

“Conditions panned out better than what the forecast was showing,” said Event Co-Chair Alex Nugent, explaining that Instead of no breeze all day, it blew 4-7 knots out of the east/northeast at the start off Edgartown Harbor, then clocked around to the south and then a bit west of south to reach 10 knots by the finish.

Spinnakers were needed on every leg of the course except the first short sprint to a turning mark off the north side of Chappaquiddick and the last one from Oak Bluffs to the finish near the starting area. Although the M32 Catamaran Midtown Racing and the 72-foot Mini-Maxi Vesper finished around 4:30 in the afternoon, the bulk of the fleet finished closer to dusk or after.

“Our start with Vesper was kind of neat,” said Andrew Weiss, skipper of Christopher Dragon XI which won Class 0-ORC. We started at the pin end, which was heavily favored, and they had to duck us about 10 minutes into the race. Vesper and the other big boats went far outside around the southwest corner of the island, but we tucked in tight, jibing in to 10-12 feet of water. After the first mark upwind, we made one jibe to the southeast corner, then were on a dead run to the southwest corner on a 15-mile leg. We never stopped.”

The three-day Edgartown Race Weekend started Thursday (July 22) with ‘Round-the-Buoy Racing that concluded on Friday. The marquee event was Saturday (July 23) at 8 a.m. when 78 boats circumnavigated Martha’s Vineyard in the 56-nautical-mile ‘Round-the-Island Race, one of America’s oldest distance races. (Photo by Daniel Forster)

Christopher Dragon’s biggest competition was the R/P 42 Rikki. “We give them time and were watching them behind us,” said Weiss. “Vesper gives us a lot of time and we figured since we could see them (ahead of us) we were probably pretty good.”

Weiss also won his class in the 2020 edition of the race, but prior to that had last raced here 25 years ago on this father’s Farr 43. “We’ll try to do it every year now,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. It’s a great race — ends in a day, before dark, and this time no foul weather gear and no water over the deck!”

Kevin Shannon (Boston, Mass.) is another who said he’d be back, perhaps to sail in Spinnaker Division next year. He co-skippered with Sebastien Mannai to win Class 7-PHRF Non-Spinnaker with their Posey 35 Firebrand. “I had never done the race before, and we only bought the boat two years ago,” said Shannon, explaining that he and Mannai renovated the boat last year during COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We are really strong upwind so we were waiting and waiting, but never got it. We used a huge 149% genoa and sailed wing-and-wing when necessary but tried to make it more of a reach as much as we could.” Shannon says he has an old spinnaker he hasn’t rigged yet. “We watched everyone with spinnakers, and it put the bug in us to do that next year. I’m impressed with all the boats, and it’s one of the most scenic regattas I’ve ever sailed.”

RTB Racing also offered light-air challenges for 14 boats in three classes. In Class 1-ORC, Art Santry’s (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) Ker 50 Temptation-Oakcliff posted victories in all but one of five races to win, while Ted Herlihy (South Dartmouth, Mass.) steered his J/109 Gut Feeling to replicate Santry’s same scoreline ( 2-1-1-1-1) and win Class 2-PHRF Spinnaker. In Class 3-PHRF Non Spinnaker, Chip Hawkins’ (Barrington, R.I.) C&C 41 Caneel climbed from second overall on day one to top the leaderboard by the end of day two (2-1-2-2-1).

Best combined performances in the ‘RTB and ‘RTI races were achieved by Gut Feeling (PHRF Spinnaker), Caneel (PHRF Non-Spinnaker) and Bruce Chafee’s (Boston, Mass.) R/P 44 Rikki (ORC).

‘Round the Island, Top Three Results
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

Class 0 – ORC (ORC – 7 Boats)
1. Christopher Dragon XI, Ker 40+ 41, Andrew & Linda Weiss , Mamaroneck, NY, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Rikki, R/P 42 42, Bruce Chafee , Boston, MA, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Wahoo, Ker 50 50, Katie Boyle , Annapolis, MD, USA – 3 ; 3

Class 1 – PHRF Spinnaker A (PHRF_ToT – 9 Boats)
1. Incognito, J 121 40, Joe Brito , Bristol, RI, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Alchemy, J 121 40, David Southwell , Chestnut Hill, MA, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Next, KP 36 36, Ryan Walsh , Cohasset, MA, USA – 3 ; 3

Class 2 – PHRF Spinnaker B (PHRF_ToT – 10 Boats)
1. RAPTOR, J 109 35.25, Ed Dailey , Newton, MA, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Hafa Adai, J 109 35, Eliot Shanabrook , Marblehead, MA, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Gut Feeling, J 109 35, Ted Herlihy , South Dartmouth, MA, USA – 3 ; 3

Class 3 – PHRF Spinnaker C (PHRF_ToT – 10 Boats)
1. Hardtack, J 105 34.5, Matthew Schmitt , Bourne, MA, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Big Fish, Beneteau 36.7 36, Greg Morse , Scituate, MA, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Water Wolf, J105 34.5, Edward Lobo , New Bedford, MA, USA – 3 ; 3

Class 4 – PHRF Spinnaker D (PHRF_ToT – 10 Boats)
1. Crazy Uncle, Tripp 37 37, Gordon Baird , Gloucester, MA, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Turning Point, NY 36 35’8, Rich Gold , Stamford, CT, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Seefest, J 29 MHOB 29, Ira Perry , South Dartmouth, MA, USA – 3 ; 3

Class 5 – PHRF – Double-Handed Spinnaker (PHRF_ToT – 7 Boats)
1. Alchemist, Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 33, Ken Read , Portsmouth, RI, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Goat Rodeo, Seaquest 36 36, Todd Johnston , East Greenwich, RI, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Hot Sauce, J/122E 40, Zachary Lee , Chilmark, MA, USA – 3 ; 3

ORC (PHRF Scoring) (PHRF_ToT – 3 Boats)
1. Wahoo, Ker 50 50, Katie Boyle , Annapolis, MD, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Zaraffa, R/P 66 66, Teagan Foley , Clear Lake Shores, TX, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Vesper, 72 Mini Max 72, Jim Swartz , Park City, UT, USA – 3 ; 3

Multihull (One Design – 1 Boats)
1. Midtown Racing, M32 32, Laurence Phillips , Newport, RI, USA – 1 ; 1

Class 6 – PHRF Non-Spin A (PHRF_ToT – 3 Boats)
1. Wild Horses, W Class 76 76, Donald Tofias , Newport, RI, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Truelove, J 160 53, John Zeiler , New York, NY, USA – 4 ; 4
3. Avatar, J 160 53, Alan Fougere , Bourne, MA, USA – 4 ; 4

Class 7 – PHRF Non-Spin B (PHRF_ToT – 9 Boats)
1. Firebrand, Posey 35 35, Kevin Shannon , Boston, MA, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Caneel, C&C 41 40’7, Chip Hawkins , Barrington, RI, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Kaos, Frers 41 40.5, Scott Belliveau , Winthrop, MA, United States – 3 ; 3

Class 8 – PHRF Non-Spin C (PHRF_ToT – 8 Boats)
1. Saylavee, Beneteau 311 32, Peter Soule , Brewster, MA, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Camelot, S&S 45 45, Robert Labdon , Brewster, MA, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Phantom, Concordia Yawl 41, Joshua Dennerlein , Westfield, NJ, USA – 3 ; 3

Class 9 – PHRF – Double-Handed Non-Spinnaker (PHRF_ToT – 3 Boats)
1. Iniki, Alerion Express 38 38, Paul Stafford , Greenwich, Select, USA – 1 ; 1
2. Ovation, Sabre 362 36, Kent Lenci , South Dartmouth, MA, USA – 2 ; 2
3. Indian Summer, Sabre 38 MK II 38’8, Sheridan Carey , Hyannis, MA, USA – 4 ; 4

‘Round-the-Buoys, Top Three Results
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

Class 1 – ORC (ORC – 5 Boats)
1. Temptation – Oakcliff, Ker 50 50, Arthur Santry , Oyster Bay, NY, USA – 2 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 6
2. Wahoo, Ker 50 50, Katie Boyle , Annapolis, MD, USA – 3 -2 -3 -3 -3 ; 14
3. Rikki, R/P 42 42, Bruce Chafee , Boston, MA, USA – 1 -3 -5 -4 -4 ; 17

Class 2 – PHRF – Spinnaker (PHRF_ToT – 4 Boats)
1. Gut Feeling, J 109 35, Ted Herlihy , South Dartmouth, MA, USA – 2 -1 -1 -1 -1 ; 6
2. Alchemy, J 121 40, David Southwell , Chestnut Hill, MA, USA – 3 -2 -2 -2 -2 ; 11
3. Hardtack, J 105 34.5, Matthew Schmitt , Bourne, MA, USA – 1 -3 -3 -3 -4 ; 14

Class 3 – PHRF – Non-Spinnaker (PHRF_ToT – 5 Boats)
1. Caneel, C&C 41 40’7, Chip Hawkins , Barrington, RI, USA – 2 -1 -2 -2 -1 ; 8
2. Kaos, Frers 41 40.5, Scott Belliveau , Winthrop, MA, USA – 1 -3 -1 -3 -2 ; 10
3. Ruffian, Cal 33 33, Bob Cunningham , Cohasset, MA, USA – 3 -2 -3 -1 -3 ; 12

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Source: Media Pro Int’l

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