Saturday's 26th annual George Moffett Race in Vineyard Sound was a tough sailing contest. A fleet of 64 sailboats started, but only 28 were able to finish. It wasn't that the weather was horrific. Hugh Schwarz, the co-organizer of the race, said that light winds were the challenge this year.
The race began with two divisions, the first gun sounding at 11:30 a.m. About 20 miles of sailing later, the last boat crossed the finish after 5 p.m. To bring fairness to a race among sailboats ranging from 16 to 50 feet in length, the organizers handicapped the sailboats.
"It was a great day on Vineyard Sound. We had that typical northeast wind which gets holes in it," said Mr. Schwarz. The wind started out strong and steady but slackened into the afternoon. "It was a big challenge for the smaller and slower boats. Thirty-three boats underestimated the tide, so they got swept to the west and missed that first red buoy off Woods Hole, R26. Most of them didn't finish."
Dan Eberle, 23, racing in his family's 38-foot Peterson 38, a sailboat named Cilista, won first place on corrected time, finishing in four hours and 10 minutes. This was his first summer on the Vineyard and he spent it sailing, working as the Sail Martha's Vineyard's maintenance technician. The scratch boat, Three Boy Breeze, a J-44 sailed by Gene Berardi, got line honors, finishing the course in four hours and seven minutes.
Finishing second on corrected time was George Delaney, a perennial top 10 finisher and past winner, sailing the sloop-rigged Ardent, an Advance 33. In third place was Michael Jacobs in his Sonar, 26 July. In fourth was Jerry Coe in his New York 40, Indian Summer. Taking fifth place was Damian McLaughlin in the 42-foot Ketch, Walter Greene. Sixth was Gene Berardi in Three Boy Breeze. In Seventh was Don Rappaport in his J-35, Juliani. In eighth was Roger Becker in his C&C 24, Gloria. In ninth was Irving Gates in the Sabre 38, King Kiwi. Finishing 10th was John Amabile in his Swan 36, Solitude. Eleventh was Doug Heil in Pearly Baker, 12th was Carl Beverly in Vamoose, 13th was Jerry Goodale in Stormalong, 14th was D. McLaughlin in Arion, 15th was Jared Hammond in Andiamo II, 16th was John Valois in Myth, 17th was Tim Aureden in Nederua III, 18th was Andy Bowen in Kaya, 19th was Jonathan Churchill in Taygeta and 20th was Phil Zell in Lapwing. Finishing 21st was Alex West in Erda, 22nd was Peter Goodale in Stormalong II, 23rd was Bruce Courcier in Sea Queen, 24th was Art Spielvogel in Hero, 25th was Art and Caroline Spengler in Raven, 26th was Angus Macphail in Nashawena, 27th was Douglas and Nancy Clark in Gnome, and 28th was Jeffrey Craig in Encore.
Retiring in the light air were Tashmoo Traveler, Music Street, Magic, Restless Wind, Cailin, Magic Time, Nebula, Lagoonah, Hope, Dakini, Onward, Vela, Daintree, High Bid, Unless, Sanderling, Whirlwind, Joyride, Malabar II, Candle in the Wind, Serenity, Dawn Treader, Anoa, Wasque Woman, Compass Rose, Phra Luang, No Name, Pooh, Alice, Isabella, Sweet Pea, Magic Twanger, Perception, Contessa, Chantey and Cetus.
The contest was sponsored by the Holmes Hole Sailing Association. This year's race was dedicated to the sailing club's founder Past Commodore Francis (Pat) West, who died at the age of 96, a year ago July 4. His granddaughter, Alexandra West, sailed Mr. West's old Freedom sloop Erda. She came in last, completing the race 5 hours and 24 minutes after her start.
When Three Boys Breeze finished in over four hours, it made the race one of the longest for the fastest boats.
John Amabile of the Holmes Hole Sailing Association contributed substantially to this report.