The 14th annual Edgartown Yacht Club 12-metre regatta is this weekend. This year 10 boats are expected for two days of racing, beginning tomorrow.
These are among the fastest big sailboats of the sea. Each has had its days of glory in trying to win the America’s Cup. The boats are between 60 and 70 feet in length, require a sizable crew to sail and often have huge colorful spinnakers. Many of them are coming from Newport. Starting today, they’ll be tied up at the Edgartown Yacht Club.
Yacht club manager William Roman said this weekend is a reunion for the club, the sailors and the boats.
“Last year most of the boats were participating in regattas in Europe, in the Mediterranean, observing the America’s Cup,” he said. The 32nd annual America’s Cup was held last year in Valencia, Spain.
This year the boats are back and will be vying with each other in the regatta. Mr. Roman said Northern Light, American Eagle, Columbia, Courageous and Intrepid already are planning to participate.
The boats will race in Nantucket Sound off Cape Pogue and Eel Pond. The racing can be viewed from Cow Bay and Bend in the Road Beach and farther to the east at Edgartown Lighthouse beach.
Mr. Roman said the organizers hope to have at least four races over the two days, with a practice race today. Races will begin at noon on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The boats will be divided into four different fleets based on their age. They are made of wood, steel, aluminum and even fiberglass.
Viewing the boats as they leave the harbor can be done at Memorial Wharf and Edgartown Lighthouse an hour or more before the start on each of the days. They’ll also be returning to the harbor at the end of the racing.
This year’s regatta offers plenty of opportunity for competition on several levels. The boats aren’t just racing for first place. A few of the boats are racing for bragging rights. Each year the 12-metre involves a contest between Nantucket and the Edgartown Yacht Club sailors.
This year Capt. Sears Wullschleger of the boat Nefertiti will be racing for Nantucket with hopes of reclaiming the Kay Hubner Trophy from Edgartown. Edgartown won the trophy last year. Mr. Wullschleger won it in 2006.
American Eagle, captained by Jeff Randell, will be sailing for the Edgartown syndicate.
The 12-metre sailboat Freedom was dismasted earlier this year, so she won’t be visiting. Her owner and skipper Ernest Jacquet wouldn’t be left out, though his boat is ailing. He has chartered Northern Light as another boat to represent Edgartown.