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All types signing up for Edgartown Race Weekend

by Barby MacGowan 27 May 12:17 PDT June 23-25, 2022

Edgartown Race Weekend, scheduled for June 23-25, has attracted 66 entries to date and, as usual, promises fierce but fun competition among teams of all sizes and calibers from around the U.S. and internationally.

Held each summer on the island of Martha's Vineyard, the Thursday-Saturday event features as its centerpiece the 55 nautical-mile 'Round-the-Island ('RTI) Race - one of yacht racing's oldest distance events - on Saturday morning, starting at 8 a.m. It is preceded on Thursday and Friday by two 15 nautical-mile offshore "sprints" around various government buoys within Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds. The goal of this new 'Round-the-Sound ('RTS) Race series is to provide more offshore and coastal-type racing for competitors over the course of the regatta.

Among the veterans are Eliot Shanabrook's (Marblehead, Mass.) J/109 Hafa Adai in the 'RTI's 49-boat PHRF Division (split into Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker Classes). It won the 'RTI's PHRF Spinnaker Class in 2020 and took second in 2021. In contrast, Olwen Huxley (Falmouth, Mass.) and her crew, sailing the J/35 Resilience, will be first timers for both the 'RTS and 'RTI PHRF Spinnaker Classes. "The team comprises a range of sailing experience, from absolute beginners to dinghy and small boat racing, through to ocean racing and offshore sailing," said Huxley. "We are looking forward to the summer competition, and despite our relative inexperience, we hope to acquit ourselves well in 2022." (So far, 17 'RTI entries are J/Boats, with 15 of those signed up for PHRF Spinnaker.)

Other returning standouts in 'RTI PHRF Spinnaker include Greg Morse's (Scituate, Mass.) Beneteau 36.7 Big Fish; Michael D'Amelio's (Boston, Mass.) Judel Vrolijk 66 Denali (the largest boat in the fleet); Peter McClennen's (Newport, R.I.) IC37 Gamecock; Brian Cunha's (Newport, R.I.) Ker 55 Irie 2; and John Myles's (New Castle, N.H.) C&C 42 Veladare. (Denali, Gamecock and Irie 2 will also sail in the 'RTS Race series.) Massachusetts Maritime Academy has entered two boats, the Swan 56 Wind Fall and the Farr 395 Avalanche.

Surely to win most beautiful is The Blue Peter, an Alfred Mylne 65'. Built in the UK in 1930 as a gentleman's cruiser, it will compete in both the 'RTI and 'RTS. "We will be racing with just a few invited friends and family," said owner Mat Barker. "We have raced her all over the Mediterranean, New England and the Caribbean."

PHRF Non-Spinnaker Class entries include Scott Belliveau's (Winthrop, Mass.) Frers 41 Kaos, which will be up against four Sabres of various sizes, a 45' S&S sloop and a Hinckley SW51, among others. (Kaos will also sail 'RTS.)

With a Doublehanded Division of 10 boats (also split into Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker Classes), the 'RTI will see Robert and Libby Alexander (Rye, N.Y.) sailing Spinnaker Class together on their Sunfast 3300 Byte. Libby is Rear Commodore and first woman commodore of American Yacht Club. "This will be our first ever 'RTI race, and we look forward to the challenging course," said Alexander. "We're looking for a good result in Edgartown." Among their rivals will be another Sunfast 3300 sailor, Chris Benzak (Newport, R.I.) aboard Low Profile, who is also looking forward to his first 'RTI. "Building time around the race to enjoy the Vineyard might be our best tactical call of the weekend," laughed Benzak.

In the six-boat ORC Class, three U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) boats, Defiance, Integrity, and Tenacious - all Navy 44s - have entered, along with Henry Brauer/Steve Madeira's (Northeast Harbor, Maine) Club Swan 42 Tio Loco and Pat Cerundolo's (S. Dartmouth, Mass.) X35 Cattiva. (Tio Loco will also sail 'RTS and a fourth Navy 44 Gallant will represent USNA in PHRF Spinnaker.)

Returning to the ever-thrilling Multihull Class is Sam Hallowell's (Newport, R.I.) M32 Midtown Racing, while new entry Thunder and Lightning, a TF10 owned by John Hele (also Newport), is sure to give the team a run for its money.

Sponsors of Edgartown Race Weekend are Mount Gay Rum, North Sails, J Boats, Regatta Craft Mixers, Hinckley Yachts, and Storm Trysail Club.

For more information on Edgartown Race Weekend, including the NOR, go to www.rtirace.org or contact Margaret Passafiume, , (508) 627-4364 x18. Follow the regatta on Facebook and Instagram.

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