Please select your home edition
Edition
USA Fusion ERX400 Wired Remote 728x90px TOP

An interview with Alex Nugent on the 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend

by David Schmidt 28 Jul 2020 08:00 PDT August 1, 2020
2019 Edgartown Race Weekend © 2019 EYC / Stephen Cloutier

2020 might not be anybody's idea of a great year, not to mention a great sailing season, but some regattas are pressing on, despite the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, and taking steps to ensure competitor health and safety. One example of this is the Edgartown Race Weekend, which will unfurl on the waters off of the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard on Saturday, August 1. Unlike previous editions of this storied regatta, which is hosted by the Edgartown Yacht Club (EYC), and which has historically offered crews a blend of round-the-buoy and distance racing, this year's edition will feature a single day of long-course racing, however crews will have their choice of two courses to best match their (nautical) horses.

The first of these courses is the 'Round-The-Island (RTI) course, which was established in 1938, making it one of the country's oldest distance-racing challenges. As its moniker suggests, this 56-nautical-mile racecourse circumnavigates Martha's Vineyard, giving participating sailors great views and plenty of tactical opportunities.

The second course, called the 'Round-The-Sound (RTS), was established in 2018. This course runs 20 nautical miles and wends its way around Edgartown Harbor and Cow Bay, following a series of government marks and testing each crew's sail-handling and gear-changing acumen.

I checked in with Alex Nugent, race co-chair of the 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend, via email, to learn more about this exciting regatta.

Can you give us an overview of the two courses—RTI and RTS—that the sailors can choose from?

The course for the primary race, 'Round-the-Island, is an approximate 56-nautical-mile circumnavigation of the island of Martha's Vineyard. The shorter 'Round-the-Sound course is around buoys in Edgartown Harbor and Cow Bay.

'Round-the-Island is the main draw given the length and challenges experienced on the course.

In your mind, what are the best aspects and challenges of each racecourse? Also, what are typically the trickiest bits of the courses for navigators, tacticians and skippers?

[I'm] going to focus on RTI here. [The] best aspect of the race is the variety of different points of sail during the race, allowing teams to utilize full sail inventories and fun equipment. Many races aren't able to offer the dynamics that RTI does.

What are the best-case and worst-case scenarios in terms of weather/conditions for both of the courses?

[The] best case scenario is a 15-knot sea breeze from the southwest. [The] worst case scenario is no breeze, especially when trying to get around the shoals off of Wasque, where the currents move pretty strong.

What kind of boats tend to race the RTI, and what kinds tend to race the RTS? And is the biggest difference between the two camps waterline (LOA), or are other factors also involved?

For RTI, we attract boats of all types, from Grand Prix racers to racer-cruisers. One-designs, particularly J/Boats, make up sizable numbers for the race.

For RTS, we typically see smaller, more inshore-oriented boats.

What kinds of safe-play tactics are you expecting from the racers on the water? Are we talking about standard-issue things like face masks, hand sanitizer and limited crew numbers, or will crews also be expected to self-quarantine ahead of the race? Also, do you expect that sailors will arrive with their usual levels of competitiveness, or is the spirit of this year's race more about getting out on the water for some friendly racing?

We are requiring all teams to comply with Massachusetts health and safety guidelines, and are encouraging additional precautions to most importantly keep the community safe (sailors to stay on boats as much as possible, for example).

Are you seeing more entries that are being crewed by family members or members of the same household this year, given the pandemic?

Nothing substantial, but folks have expressed excitement more than usual about getting family members on the water.

What are the standing elapsed-time records for each course? Also, based on the entries that you're seeing, do you think that 2020 could see a new record (or records) established?

I don't have the time records for each course in hand-I will say for this year, the addition of the M32's allows for a new record to be set.

Can you tell us about any efforts that you and the other regatta organizers have made to try to lower the regatta's environmental footprint or otherwise green-up the regatta?

We have digitized our entire regatta processes and infrastructure this year, and EYC have for years been encouraging sailors and our own community to meaningfully reduce single-use plastics and materials. Our EYC team is extensively diligent with making sure visiting teams keep the harbor environment clean.

Anything else that you'd like to add, for the record?

Stay tuned for 2021-we have a lot of exciting enhancements planned for next year's event. Dates for 2021 will be released shortly after the conclusion of RTI 2020.

Related Articles

Hello, my old friend…
So I put the word out... it got heard… and how! So I put the word out back in 52 pick up. At any rate, it got heard… And how! Posted on 9 May
Linda Ambrose and Marty McKenna on the J/70 NAs
Linda Ambrose and Marty McKenna on the 2021 J/70 North American Championship I checked in with Linda Ambrose, who serves as the AYC's Harborside Director, and Marty McKenna, who serves as the regatta's event chair, via email, to learn more about this exciting championship-level One Design regatta. Posted on 6 May
In conversation with Jelte Liebrand
The tech-savvy navigation entrepreneur savvy navvy is the boating app that puts all your essential marine information in one place: tidal graphs, weather forecasts, automatically updated chart data, routing, GPS tracking, marina information and more. We spoke to founder Jelte Liebrand... Posted on 6 May
Gladwell's Line: Pressing ignition on pro-sailing
The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage by COVID The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage to the COVID pandemic - here's a look at how SailGP and the America's Cup coped, plus the 2024 Olympic event quandary. Posted on 6 May
How terribly fitting - ISOLAtion
And such good use of time, too! As a word, ISOLA could mean a lot of things And such good use of time, too! Now as a word, ISOLA could mean a lot of things. Obviously there's ‘island' in Italian, and it's also a girl's name as well, which are all very fitting when it comes to boats... Posted on 5 May
Steve Bourdow on the 2021 Moore 24 Nationals
An interview with Steve Bourdow on the 2021 Moore 24 Nationals I checked in with Steve Bourdow, who serves as fleet captain of the Southern California Moore 24 class, via email, to learn more about the 2021 Moore 24 Nationals (May 7-9), which are being hosted by the Santa Cruz Yacht Club. Posted on 4 May
Alternate reality
Is the Paris 2024 10th medal hammering a square peg in a round hole? This time 40 years ago the drummer Nick Mason released an album called Fictitious Sports. As with his band Pink Floyd, Hipgnosis were called upon for the album art, creating the image you see above, which seemed apt as an intro for this editorial. Posted on 3 May
SailGP news, TOR goes green, and new IMOCA rules
Latest newsletter from Sail-World's David Schmidt in the USA The weather may have been cold and rainy for the Seattle Yacht Club's Protection Island Race this past Saturday on Puget Sound, but things were fortunately warmer in Bermuda, where sailing unfurled for the first event in the 2021 SailGP season. Posted on 27 Apr
SailGP season opener serves and frustrates
Incredible logistics and technology needs a little honing I take my hat off to the logistics team that the event happened at all. With a lockdown in Bermuda and the general difficulties in travel, getting eight international teams and the paraphernalia to a small island in the North Atlantic was no mean feat. Posted on 26 Apr
52 pick up
Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Where the playing cards are held between the thumb and index finger, flexed down, and then sprayed out to a jumbled mess on the floor. Posted on 25 Apr
Vaikobi 2021 FlexForce - FOOTERSOUTHERN-SPARS-MISSY-FURLING-BOOMS-728-X-90 BottomUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTER