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Entries surge for Edgartown Race Weekend

by Barby MacGowan 1 Apr 08:06 PDT July 22-24, 2021
Kanga at the 2020 Edgartown Race Weekend © Stephen Cloutier

Entries are well ahead of pace for this year's Edgartown Race Weekend, hosted by Edgartown Yacht Club on Martha's Vineyard. Nearly 50 teams have signed on for one or both of two segments offered by the three-day competition, which starts with 'Round-the-Buoy ('RTB) racing on Thursday and Friday, July 22 and 23 and concludes with a 56 nautical mile 'Round-the-Island ('RTI) race on Saturday, July 24.

"This year, we shifted our usual time slot for the regatta to better allow East Coast sailors to participate here and in other regional sailing events without overlap and with plenty of breathing room in between," said Event Co-Chair Alex Nugent. "After last year's uncertainties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the message we're getting from sailors this year is 'Let's do this!'"

Many of the boats, such as Kanga, a DP34 from Marion, Mass., and Moxiee, a J/122 from Franklin, Mass., are returning, while others, such as Crazy Uncle, a Tripp 37 from Gloucester, Mass., are new to the event.

"Once we start the race, it is game on!," said Kanga skipper Cam Tougas about the 'RTI, which has served as the cornerstone of this regatta for 83 years and in which Team Kanga finished third last year. "Our number-one focus is 'work ethic.' We never allow ourselves to slip into 'cruising mode.' The current going around Martha's Vineyard is a huge variable...and every leg of this race offers a different wind and current direction. Doing your homework is key, but you also must be able to adjust. The crew must be ready for multiple sail changes and willing to perform these tasks many times."

Moxiee skipper Daniel Huen has sailed in the Edgartown Race Weekend only once before, in 2019. He finished first in the 'Round-the-Buoy" racing as well as the 'Round-the-Sound race (a shorter option to the 'RTI that is no longer offered), and he can't wait to get back after having to skip last year.

"The draw is the overall Edgartown/Martha's Vineyard experience and racing venue," said Huen. "Together, they allow for the family to be included in after-racing activities...racing by day, dinner by night in Edgartown.... Also, the sailboat delivery to and from Martha's Vineyard is usually wonderful in July, with spring fog giving way to sunny southwesterlies."

As for Gordon Baird, owner of Crazy Uncle, he was talked into signing up for his first time by a member of a rival sailing team (Brian Cardello) who will now join Crazy Uncle's six-man crew.

"He knows that I am 'race crazy'," said Baird, who in 1987 made a commitment to sail every day for 30 years following his last-place finish at the 210 Nationals. (He managed an average of 335 days a year for those next three decades.) "If you play guitar and you want to play like Jimi Hendrix, you have to practice every day. I've owned Crazy Uncle since the end of 2017, and I've sailed it like a maniac for three years, because it was my first PHRF boat, and I wanted to be able to sail it in my sleep. I'm looking forward to the adventure of Edgartown and sailing with like-minded sailing enthusiasts!"

Divisions are for PHRF, ORC, Multihull and One-Design.

Current sponsors of Edgartown Race Weekend are Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, J Boats, and Hinckley Yachts.

For more information on Edgartown Race Weekend, go to www.rtirace.org or contact Margaret Passafiume, , (508) 627-4364 x18. Follow the regatta on Facebook and Instagram.

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