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2015 Edgartown Race Weekend: Large part of fleet brand new to event

by Barby MacGowan 16 Jul 2015 09:36 PDT 23-24 July 2015

Twenty out of 48 boats now registered for Edgartown Yacht Club's Edgartown Race Weekend are brand new to the event, and there's a reason for that. It seems word of mouth is the best form of flattery...

"Several friends and colleagues have had nothing but good things to say about it," said Californian Jim Madden (Newport Beach), of Stark Raving Mad fame, about the July event that features 'Round-the-Buoy Races on Thursday and Friday, July 23 and 24, followed by a 'Round-the-Island Race on Saturday, July 25. "We're pleased to be going, and I'm sure the competition will be quite high."

Competitors have a choice of sailing just one session or the other, but the trend since 2012, when buoy racing first was added to the mix, has been participation over all three days. The competition gets stronger each year, and it is in July when Martha's Vineyard, which lies seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod, presents its pristine white beaches, preserved land and clay cliffs in their full summer splendor.

Madden's boat is one of the new C&C 30s, which are gaining traction in New England as a one-design class. Its name is Stark Raving Mad, and it's the eighth boat in a succession of larger boats (such as a Swan 601 and a J/125) he has owned with the same name. Though it's a step down in size, Madden says he is counting on the small package to deliver some large-scale sailing action. "I wanted to get a fast, fun sport boat that would have some good one-design class racing," said Madden. "I love that the C&C 30 is built in Rhode island and is a Mark Mills design, and it can also do some point-to-point racing, not just near-shore buoy racing."

Madden's team will be comprised of four of his regular big-boat crew (Tony Rey, Chris Busch, Drew Freides, and Al Pleskus) with two new faces (Victor Diaz de Leon and Rick Merriman). He has only sailed and raced the boat once, in June's New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta. "That event was the team's second day on the boat, so we were quite pleased with our third-place finish, though we were tied for first after day one." (From that regatta, Angus Davis's Nyabinghi and Clay Deutsch's Just A Friend also will compete).

Edgartown Race Weekend provides competitive racing for boats 28 feet and longer in divisions for IRC, PHRF (Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker) and HPR. Specific classes for Double-Handed, One Design, and Classic yachts are added when at least three boats are entered for each discipline.

Arthur Santry (Newport, R.I./Washington, D.C.) remembers the 'Round-the-Island Race from when he was younger, sailing with his father (whose boat Pleione, a 58 footer, held the record in the 1970s). "My dad did the race religiously, but I haven't been able to do it since 1985," he said, explaining that his Ker 50, named Temptation/Oakcliff, is the fourth in a succession of Temptations that started with the first one built by his father in 1983.

"It was always a race where we showed up and had a lot of fun," said Santry, "so this year I thought 'what the heck,' my sons (Richard, age 16, and Arthur, age 21) have never done it and they should, because it's great sailing."

Temptation Oakcliff's navigator L.J. Edgcomb, a bowman on Courageous when it won the America's Cup in 1974 and '77, also will bring along two of his three sons, while five of the crew, including the boat's captain Mike Komar, will be Oakcliff Sailing graduates. The non-profit organization, with a sailing center in Oyster Bay, N.Y., is dedicated to building American leaders through sailing, and Santry is one of its biggest cheerleaders. In 2011, Santry offered to overhaul the center's well-used Ker 50, and as Temptation/Oakcliff it became a flagship for all the good the center is doing. Temptation/Oakcliff is now a fixture on the New England sailing circuit and this year claimed fifth in class at the New York Yacht Club's Annual Regatta, second in class in the Block Island Race (behind the 100-foot Comanche, Santry notes), and third in class in the Annapolis to Newport Race. "We've done pretty well; it has been a good fun summer," said Santry.

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 56 nautical 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.)

The 'Round-the-Buoy Races and the 'Round-the-Island Race each have their own Notices of Race and entry forms. (A registration fee is required for the 'Round-the-Island Race; the 'Round-the-Buoy Races are free.)

For more information and to register, go to www.rtirace.org or contact . Follow Edgartown Yacht Club facebook page.

In 2015, Edgartown Yacht Club also will host the 92nd Annual Regatta for one-design boats (July 16-18) and the 22nd running of the Annual 12 Metre Regatta (August 7-9). For more information and to register for Edgartown Yacht Club sailing events, visit www.edgartownyc.org and click on the racing tab.

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