Vineyard Race Kick Off Party and Buzzards Society Initiation Event

On March 4, 2017 the Stamford Yacht Club hosted the Vineyard Race Kick Off Party and Buzzards Society Initiation Event. Over 110 sailors converged on the club to toast the Vineyard Race and welcome 14 new Buzzards into the Buzzards Society. The 2017 class of buzzards brings the membership in the society to 217. The Buzzard Society is in its 9th year and was established to recognize those sailors who have participated in the Vineyard Race 10 or more times. If you feel you qualify, contact the buzzard keeper at buzzards@stamfordyc.com

The $25 entrance fee included beverages from four of the races sponsors, Mount Gay Rum, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Regatta Ginger Beer and Half Full Brewery. The Stamford Yacht Club’s chef supplied the group with a make your own taco salad and chili station.

Put March 3, 2018 on your calendar so you don’t miss out on this fun event.

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Why I race the Vineyard — Dave Hubbard

The Vineyard is a tradition for many. We’ve decided to celebrate that with occasional profiles of Vineyard veterans, all members of the Buzzards Society. We continue with Dave Hubbard.

How many Vineyards have you done? I sailed in 10 Vineyards

Describe in one word what makes the Vineyard so appealing? I think it was the variety of experiences and the anticipation of the unknown events that might occur.

What is the most difficult part of racing The Vineyard? I think it was the variety of experiences and the anticipation of the unknown events that might occur. The timing and guessing (?) when and how we would get out of the Sound.

What’s your favorite part of racing The Vineyard? The different yachts and people I sailed with. An early one was on a Manchester 33. small and very slow, entertaining owner. We ended up sailing back through Fishers Island Sound on Tuesday evening having a gourmet dinner prepared by the owner. I sailed with Bill Luders on his Spartan Storm with other topnotch sailors. In the 50s, our syndicate of young bachelors raced our wooden 1935 38’Alden cutter (again very slowly). Twice with Marvin Green, once on a Swan 65 and once on his 82′ maxi Nirvana (very fast!). All in all, I think my cherished memories centered on the personalities, the boats and the joy of sailing rather than the prizes and our placement at the finish line.

Why I race the Vineyard — Peter Millard

RUDI - 08-09-14The Vineyard is a tradition for many. We’ve decided to celebrate that with occasional profiles of Vineyard veterans, all members of the Buzzards Society. We continue with Peter Millard.

How many Vineyards have you done? Twenty-Five (25+) Plus. Have lost count over the many years. First was 1970.

Describe in one word what makes the Vineyard so appealing? The challenge.

What is the most difficult part of racing The Vineyard? Hitting the tides just right at the exit from and re-entry into Long Island Sound and being lucky enough to carry a favorable breeze throughout the Race.

What’s your favorite part of racing The Vineyard? Finishing and knowing that you just won the NORT.

A family affair — Chanteyman

CHANTEYMAN_on_the_50th (1)As we prepare to celebrate the 80th running of the Vineyard Race we’ve been asking folks to send in their remembrances. This one is from Ed Cesare of PleiadRacing. Thanks Ed.

I thought you guys might like to see the attached picture.  It is of Ed Raymond’s CHANTEYMAN shortly after the start of the 50th Vineyard Race.  The crew was Ed, past SYC commdore Skip Raymond, Jay Raymond, Ed’s nephew Tim Murray,  Mark Beningson and your’s truly (trimmng the kite from the shrouds).  The idea was three generations of Raymond’s for the 50th running sailing out of Norwalk YC.

I did a fair amount of sailing with Ed and it was always a treat.   This was not our finest outing however.  It was really light coming back into the Sound and  we got flushed out by the ebb all the way to the seaward side of Montaulk!  I don’t remember when we finally finished but SYC was considering sending the USCG – Ha!

Sorry about the picture quality. This photo hangs in the Norwalk Yacht Club and is too big to scan. Figured it was interesting in view of the 80th running — it will be great to have for the 100th!

Why I race the Vineyard — Bernard Armstrong

The Vineyard is a tradition for many. We’ve decided to celebrate that with occasional profiles of Vineyard veterans, all members of the Buzzards Society. We continue with Bernard Armstrong, immediate past president of YRALIS.

The Vineyard Race offers many diverse challenges and combines many variables that can only be found in distance blue water races like it. So what are these many variables? Team work, day racing, night racing and night racing can be in both darkness and pitch darkness to name a few challenges. It can be stormy days and stormy nights to test the crew’s skills and team work but it can also be beautiful nights with bright moons. When I first learned to tie a bowline we had to tie it behind our backs. Night racing makes you really understand how important it is to really be able to do that.

Next there is the overall game plan about how to win the race and get around the Buzzards tower ( I remember when it was actually a big tower) and back to Stamford in the least amount of time. Thinking through the strategy and tactics is key to figuring it all out. How will the tides affect us considering the current conditions? Then the tactics. How to maximIze speed in the various tide situations. Stay in the middle. How to use the Long Island shore to your advantage. Whether to go inside Long Sand Shoal or stay outside it. When to use Plum Gut or the Race. Lots of chess like moves around the course have to be determined in advance and executed properly to achieve success.What to do during light wind conditions. What to do during heavy winds.

Another big challenge in the Vineyard Race is the crew. This involves planning all the logistics, provisioning the boat for 2-3 days at sea. Finding places for all the provisions on board. Then preparing and cooking hot meals for a crew of 10-12 crewmen in a boat under full sail in heavy seas. Other challenges involve safety especially at night, managing sea sickness, mending sails and making other critical repairs under sail.

One of my most memorable Vineyard races was in 2001 on board a Frers 45 named Somerset skippered by Walt Alder. Walt is a great skipper and a real sailing man. Somerset did all the other required ocean races that year and upon finishing the Vineyard race in 2001 we learned that Somerset won the Northern Ocean Trophy and that accomplishment is well documented in the hall wall board display at Stamford Yacht Club.

From the archives — the 1960 race

ny-times-spet-60This year marks the 80th running of the Vineyard. Five years ago we ran a series of articles chronicling the history of the race. Starting today we will be reposting those articles on this blog. (Orig post date: March 2009)

As we rummage through the archives of races past we are taken by several things. A dispatch from the Sept. 3, 2009 issue of The New York Times is a good example.

In the article it reported that Nina, DeCoursey Fales’ yacht, was in charge of advising the race committee by radio on estimated times of arrival.

“An 11 P.M. report by radio from Nina, the yacht designated to advise the committee of estimated times of arrival, established that the Nina and four other craft were in the vicinity of the Long Island shore off Port Jefferson.”

It’s a long way from today with cell, Internet and satellite coverage where nearly move is known to everyone else and at the very least competitors can communicate with shore much more easily.

The same dispatch also reported on the the dismasting of Pursuit, a 35′ yawl sailed by Richard Sheehan out of Larchmont, and a collision between a tanker and one of the competitors, Falcan, RJ Perry’s 31′ sloop out of Seawanhaka.

From the archives — Dorade arrives

nyt-1933This year marks the 80th running of the Vineyard. Five years ago we ran a series of articles chronicling the history of the race. Starting today we will be reposting those articles on this blog. (Orig post date: March 2009)

We all know that yacht racing gets little or no coverage in today’s newspapers. So it’s a treat to scan through the archives of The New York Times to see how the Vineyard Race was covered in earlier times.

The other day we came across a clipping that was not about the race but about a boat arriving for the race. Talk about coverage. Granted, it wasn’t about any boat. In the Sept. 1, 1933 edition of the paper there was a dispatch about Dorade returning victorious from the Fastnet race and dropping anchor in Larchmont Harbor before setting out on the Vineyard Race.

It took her 26 days and 15 hours to make the return journey.

Three members of the original crew, which sailed the Dorade across the ocean for the 720-mile race from Cowes around Fastnet Rock in July, were among the six that returned today. They were Roderick Stephens, Jr., who acted as skipper in both transatlantic trips and also handled the Dorade in the Fastnet race victory; Porter Buck of New York City and David Leeson of Scarsdale.

Joseph Appleton and two members of the Grenadier, another boat which competed in the 720-mile race; Samuel Lane of Milton, Mass., and Albert Pratt of Roxbury, Mass., were the other sailors who made the return journey.