Q&A with the Vineyard chairmen

We recently sat down with Charles Goodrich and Richard Nugent, co-chairmen of this year’s Vineyard Race, to talk about the race and the events surrounding it.

First off, tell us what you’re doing different this year to celebrate the 75th running of the race.
Charles: The short answer is lots. But first let me say that we’re trying to accomplish two things this year. The first is to properly celebrate the 75th running of the race. We think it’s pretty impressive that a race like this has lasted so long. The second goal is to establish a strong foundation for future races. We don’t want this year’s race to be a big success and then have people lose interest in years to come. We feel that if we can make this year’s race a success, word will get out to those who couldn’t attend and they will try to make it in future years.

So what are some of the specific things you’ve done?
Richard: Let’s start with on the water. First, we moved up the first gun to noon. That allows boats to get back sooner so the crew can spend more time with their families. Second, we created a new cruising division. All PHRF boats, including those with a rating as low as 21, are invited to participate. This class will be available for both courses (Vineyard and Cornfield Point) and is an ideal way to get the family out racing. Third, race tracking is returning. All boats in the race will be tracked on our Web site so family and spectators can follow along.

What about off the water?
Richard: There’s a lot to talk about and that’s in part due to the generosity of our sponsor, Thomson Reuters, which has helped fund this. We have Gary Jobson joining us for the skippers’ meeting on the Thursday before the start. He will be talking about his Vineyard experiences as well as showing some recent footage of great sailing events. On Sunday night we will have a spectacular arrivals party on the lawn of the yacht club which will include live music. We will be handing out trophies as well. This replaces our traditional Monday lunch awards ceremony.

Why do you think the race has remained so successful?
Charles: We don’t think there’s a single reason. There are many. It’s a great way to end the summer spending the Labor Day weekend out on the water. It’s a very competitive race with a variety of conditions. The Cornfield Point course allows boats without life rafts to compete which is also ideal for young families.

How would you consider this year’s race to be a success?
Richard: If it gets people talking and wanting to come back next year then it will be a huge success.

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