Vineyard in review: white-knuckle sailing, redemption and a classic

The crew of Fin II, which took home top honors for the PHRF boat that performed the best in distance races during this past summer.

This year’s Vineyard Race was about many things but what stood out were the white-knuckle sailing, some redemption and the return of a classic.

The white-knuckle sailing was thanks in part to Hurricane Earl which cleared out before Saturday’s delayed start and caused steady 25-knot winds from the west. All 68 boats that crossed the line (of the 85 that registered) quickly learned how good, or not so good, they were at heavy weather downwind sailing. Vela Veloce, Richard Oland’s Southern Cross 52, drew the most looks taking off from the start at 24 knots and reached the turning mark 71 miles away in just over four hours. (Click here for pics from the start.) Many boats reported going through several chutes by the time they were done making it a good weekend for sailmakers. (There was also a dismasting to add to the excitement but fortunately nobody was hurt and the crew of Leverage found out they were traveling 26 knots when the rig collapsed, according to the Kattack tracking device.)

This year’s Vineyard was redemption for Thin Man, Todd Aven’s J 92 out of City Island. Last year he completed the Cornfield Point course but only after finishing realized he had inadvertently not obeyed the final mark of the course. The mark was  only several hundred miles short of the finish line and nobody else had seen him cut the mark. Still, he reported himself to the race committee and was disqualified. This year he went out with a vengeance and smoked the rest of the Cornfield Point fleet taking top honors for his efforts.

The classic was Carina, the 1969 IOR racer revived by Rives Potts. He sailed the 48-footer to second in her class earning her the exalted Northern Ocean Racing Trophy given to the boat that performed the best in distance races this past summer. It was hard not to cheer for the boat that was made famous by Dick Nye and his son Richard and is now in a position normally occupied by much younger boats.

All in all it was a successful weekend for nearly everyone involved. Fifteen boats dropped out, most due to gear failure or crew fatigue. Anyone who had questioned the RC’s decision to shorten the 238-mile traditional Vineyard course to one within Long Island Sound changed his or her mind on the 70-mile beat back in the middle of Saturday night in 7 to 9 foot seas.

For complete results, click here.

To see photos from this weekend’s racing, click here.

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