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Edgartown Race Weekend at Edgartown Yacht Club: New year, better racing

by Barby MacGowan 12 Mar 09:59 PDT July 30 - August 1, 2020
Scenes from Edgartown Yacht Club's 2019 Edgartown Race Weekend. © Stephen Cloutier

'Round-the-Buoys and 'Round-the-Island or 'Round-the-Sound - there's something for everyone at Edgartown Yacht Club's (EYC) 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend, and sailors from across the region and the country are advised to get a jump on planning for the July 30-August 1 event.

Edgartown Race Weekend is a popular tradition on Martha's Vineyard and across the Northeast. "We're lucky to have one of the best venues for in-shore and coastal racing on the East Coast," said Event Co-Chair Alex Nugent, "which has helped make Edgartown Race Weekend one of the most appealing events on the summer racing circuit for everyone from grand-prix racers to cruising sailors. Our team here at EYC has made a tangible effort to deliver what the sailors want and are enjoying working with participants to create an even stronger event."

The event starts with two days of handicap 'Round-the-Buoys ('RTB) racing on Thursday and concludes with a choice of two distance races on Saturday: the 20 nm 'Round-the-Sound Race ('RTS) and the 56 nm 'Round-the-Island Race ('RTI), which is in its 82nd running and counts as one of America's oldest distance races.

"This year, EYC is excited to be offering free moorings for two nights, included in the registration fee for the first 50 paid 'RTI entrants," said Edgartown Race Weekend Co-Chair Hal Findlay. "As well, we are allowing teams to switch their entries to the shorter 'RTS up until 12 noon on Friday. This gives them flexibility to decide what makes the most sense for their crews in the event of heavy wind or adverse conditions."

In the event the 'RTI must be sailed in light air, three "gates" give the Race Committee options for shortening course. Said EYC Race Committee Chair Bob Hurst: "We don't like DNFs!" (DNF is the scoring designation for a yacht that did not finish.)

As for more choices, competitors have the option to sail all three days or just in Saturday's 'RTI or 'RTS. Edgartown Yacht Club started offering the shorter 'Round-the-Sound Race in 2018 as encouragement for smaller yachts to join the fun. Since, smaller racing boats that don't meet the offshore safety requirements to race the 'RTI (such as J/70s) have comprised at least half of the 'RTS fleet.

"The combination of coastal/offshore racing and buoy racing allows teams of all experience levels and yachts of all sizes to utilize their full arsenal of sails and equipment," said Nugent. "It's a rare opportunity these days, and this optionality continues to draw sailors to Edgartown Race Weekend year after year."

Divisional scoring will include IRC, ORR-Ez, PHRF, and Multihull, and potentially One-Design class scoring (depending on fleet numbers). Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, and Double-Handed classes will also be featured.

Edgartown Race Weekend's 'RTI/'RTS and 'RTB races are scored separately, with top-three prizes awarded in each class. Sailors enjoy various new on-shore activities, including a welcome party, post-racing gatherings, a Mount Gay-sponsored rum tasting, and more. Awards for the 'RTB are scheduled for Friday afternoon and the 'RTI and 'RTS for Sunday morning.

For more information visit www.rtirace.org.

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