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Edgartown Yacht Club hosts 100th Annual Regatta in July

by Barby MacGowan 12 Mar 2023 12:46 PDT July 12-16, 2023
Clockwise from upper left: Modern-day photos of J/70s (with Shields); Herreshoff 12 1/2s; Shields fleet; and Optimist Dinghies sailing in the Edgartown Yacht Club Annual Regatta © Shields fleet photo credit Bill Brine, all others Elizabeth Balay

Edgartown Yacht Club (EYC) will celebrate a full century of competitive sailing this year with its 100th Annual Regatta on July 12-16.

The regatta first took place in 1924 and was run from a rented cottage on the waterfront at the Harborside Inn. More than 100 vessels – mainly small gaff-rigged Catboats – took part in a festival of sail that delighted participants and spectators alike. Over the decades since, the event has met with continued success, morphing into a nine-class event that, for 2023, will host 170 or more boats.

“This is an extraordinary milestone in sailing and for the Edgartown Yacht Club, which was founded in 1905 to perpetuate the maritime traditions of Edgartown and Martha’s Vineyard,” said Event and Race Committee Chair Elizabeth Balay. “A quote from the Annual Regatta’s 1924 race circular said it all, and it still resonates all these many years later: ‘This regatta day was given for the express purpose of rejuvenating the Edgartown spirit for yacht racing, water sports, and everything that pertains to seamanship...for there are no better sailors, old and young, than those who were brought up and have had their training in this Harbor.’”

Three sessions for racing

The Edgartown Yacht Club 100th Annual Regatta will see its sailors racing in three sessions. The first, on Wednesday, July 12 and Thursday, July 13, is for junior sailors who will compete on one of three racing circles set up to accommodate three classes: C420, Optimist Dinghy Champs, and Optimist Dinghy Green. (The two-day regatta also serves as a qualifier for the SMSA Grand Prix for both Opti and C420 classes.) The second session, from Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16, is for keelboat sailors who will compete on either of two racing circles set up for five classes: Shields, Wianno Seniors, J/70s, Rhodes 19s, and Herreshoff 12 1/2s. (The three-day Shields event also serves as the Shields New England Championship.) The third session, on Saturday, July 15 overlaps the keelboat racing and is reminiscent of the regatta’s roots; it is a single race around government marks for traditional Catboats.

Commemorative activities

To mark the Edgartown Yacht Club Annual Regatta’s 100-year milestone, a full schedule of activities has been planned. As part of a separately organized Edgartown Catboat Rendezvous, a Catboat Parade of Sail will start at noon on Saturday and make its way through Edgartown Harbor. After racing that day, a retrospective film will premiere at the EYC’s main clubhouse, followed by Saturday evening’s Regatta Ball. The public is invited to view the Parade of Sail from land and sea, and a special “Century of Sail Exhibition” will be open for public viewing throughout the regatta (location to be determined).


The Awards Ceremony for juniors will be held Thursday, July 13 at the EYC Clubhouse where top-three trophies will be awarded in each class. Catboats will receive awards post-racing on Saturday, July 15 at the Old Sculpin Gallery. The Awards Ceremony for keelboats will be held Sunday, July 16 at the EYC Clubhouse where top-three trophies will be awarded in each class along with the G. Richard Steigler Memorial Trophy for the boat with the highest winning margin in its class.

Special recognition will be given to sailors and crew with the longest attendance records for the Edgartown Yacht Club Annual Regatta along with the reading of an original commemorative poem by Edgartown Yacht Club member Don McLagan.

Sponsors for the Edgartown Yacht Club 100th Regatta are Mad Martha’s Ice Cream, which is providing a special ice cream trolley during the junior session; Bad Martha Beer, which is crafting a signature 100th Annual Regatta Ale for adults attending post-racing parties and socials, Doughdish, Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway, Harding Sails, Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard, and Sperry.

For more information, contact Margaret Passafiume in the Race Office: , 508-627-4364. Follow the regatta on Facebook and Instagram.

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