Though it’s known around the world as an alluring summer vacation destination, the enchanting island retreat of Martha’s Vineyard (Mass.) also is a second-to-none racing venue for sailors. Regularly attracting entrants from the Eastern Seaboard and beyond, Edgartown Yacht Club’s Edgartown Race Weekend — this year scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, July 24-26 — is the island’s most highly regarded sailing contest and once again looks to deliver on some exceptional racing for IRC, PHRF, Double-Handed, Classic and Cruising divisions.
The Edgartown Yacht Club at sunset during last year’s Edgartown Race Weekend
Described by long-time Race Week contender Jim Swartz (Park City, Utah), who races his 52-foot Vesper at grand-prix events around the world, 'There really is nothing else like Edgartown Race Week—where it’s held, on short courses in the outer Edgartown Harbor and then on a challenging race track around a beautiful island; good wind that always seems to oblige; and the casual and welcoming ambience of the yacht club itself, which opens up to the waterfront at the foot of Main Street in downtown Edgartown. If there is a better sailing venue in the world I have yet to find it.'
Edgartown Race Weekend starts with Big Boat Buoy Races (BBBR) on Thursday and Friday (July 24-25) and ends with the 77-year-old ‘Round-the-Island Race (RTI) on Saturday (July 26). The Mount Gay-sponsored 'jump-up' on Friday night entertains competitors who are entered in one or the other, or both, of the racing sessions. A Welcome Reception on Wednesday night (July 23) and Prize Givings on both Friday and Sunday round out the schedule.
Notices of Race for both events have been posted at http://bit.ly/1cpTPc4 and deadline for entry is July 23 for the BBBR and July 25 for the RTI. No registration fee is required for the BBBR. The Big Boat Buoy Races are sanctioned as part of the prestigious U.S. IRC Gulf Stream Series and the ‘Round-the-Island Race, scored separately, is part of the New England Lighthouse Series for PHRF yachts.
First held in the summer of 1938, the Edgartown Yacht Club’s ‘Round-the-Island Race was inspired by a similar race around the Isle of Wight that has been held in Cowes, England every year since 1931. Covering 54.7 miles, it passes over Nantucket Sound, the Atlantic Ocean and Vineyard Sound and by seven lighthouses as it circumnavigates, clockwise, the 100 square miles that make up Martha’s Vineyard. (The race around the Isle of Wight covers 50 miles and has become the fourth largest sporting event in the United Kingdom.)
Edgartown Yacht Club has a long history of providing exceptional yacht racing in the waters around Martha’s Vineyard. With roots going back to the turn of the 20th Century, the club was officially founded in 1905 by racing members of the original 'Home Club,' to which many prominent summer and permanent residents—both racing and non-racing—belonged. The current clubhouse was completed in 1927.
In 2014, Edgartown Yacht Club will host, in addition to Edgartown Race Weekend, a North Sails J/70 Spring Tune-Up Clinic (June 20-22); the Edgartown Yacht Club 91st Annual Regatta for one-design boats, celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Wianno Senior class (July 10-12); and the 21st running of the Annual 12 Metre Regatta (August 8-10).
For more information and to register for Edgartown Yacht Club sailing events, visit Edgartown YC and click on the racing tab.