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2020 Edgartown Race Weekend will see changes, but it's still good news

by Barby MacGowan 3 Jul 2020 07:25 PDT July 30 - August 1, 2020
Edgartown Yacht Club will host its 'Round-the-Island and 'Round-the-Sound races on August 1 © Stephen R. Cloutier

The Edgartown Yacht Club has cancelled the buoy racing segment of its annual Edgartown Race Weekend; however, it will still host the 82nd running of its signature 'Round-the-Island ('RTI) race on August 1 in addition to the newer 'Round-the-Sound ('RTS) event the same day. The 'RTI, which began in 1938 and counts as one of America's oldest distance races, tracks 56 nautical miles around Martha's Vineyard, while the 'RTS, inaugurated in 2018, gives sailors an alternative choice of sailing 20 nautical miles on a course around government marks in Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds.

"To ensure the health and safety of sailors and the entire Martha's Vineyard community, we have been working diligently to comply with the State of Massachusetts guidelines regarding COVID-19," said Race Co-Chair Alex Nugent. "Because of the early-August scheduling of our event, we've had time to adapt our plans and prepare the competitors for what to expect. Despite necessary changes, registration numbers are robust, drawing teams from all over the East Coast who see Edgartown Race Weekend as the kick-off to the 2020 racing season."

At this point in the planning, the Skippers' Meeting and Awards will transpire digitally. Social events or gatherings at the clubhouse are currently on hold, and sailors are highly encouraged to stay on board their boats as much as possible. As of now, no overnight docking will be allowed at the clubhouse (this has potential to change), but provisions have been made for free moorings for competitors.

Happily adapting are Camden Tougas (Marion, Mass.) and his crew of eight aboard the DP34 Kanga. This will be their fourth time competing in the Edgartown Race Weekend's 'RTI, and they've won their PHRF Spinnaker class twice before (2018 and '19). "We're hoping we'll be three-for-three, but it's a very competive, intense race. That's why we love doing it, and it's one of the biggest events of the summer, so it makes winning our class mean that much more."

Tougas says that all but one of his crew are the same as last year and have been in his "trusted group" during COVID 19. They include his little brother Luke (age 15, also from Marion), who helps trim, and Luke's best friend Patrick Shacoy, who works the mid-bow. "When we get to the island, we'll hang out on the boat," said Tougas. "We'll miss going ashore, but we're packing some extra dinners. To be honest, I'm expecting the night before and after to be quiet, but racing will be some of the most competitive we've seen in a long time. There's a great turnout of boats, and with every other race cancelled and this one going on, everyone will want this!"

Divisional scoring in both the 'RTI and the 'RTS will include IRC, ORR eZ, PHRF, and Multi-hull, and potentially One-Design class scoring (depending on fleet numbers). Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, and Double-Handed classes will also be featured.

For more information, go to www.rtirace.org.

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