There is plenty of evidence already on the waterfront: Vineyard sailors are getting ready for summer.
The Vineyard Haven Yacht Club has a new headquarters. The Edgartown Yacht Club has acquired property for a junior sailing center on Chappaquiddick. The Holmes Hole Sailing Association, the only sailing organization on the Island without a building, has a full roster of 25 events planned throughout the season.
And Sail Martha’s Vineyard, the nonprofit that is dedicated to teaching young Islanders to sail at little or no cost, continues to enlarge its programs for young and old alike.
July and August are peak sailing months, although the season begins in June and spills over into September.
The Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, a private club, opens its 81st season officially on Saturday, June 27 in a newly rebuilt building facing the outer Vineyard Haven harbor. Club manager Charlie Felder said the new 4,400 square foot building brings the organization into the century with access for people with handicaps and other modern amenities, while still retaining elements of the old building that was razed last winter. “The old building was designed by Tom Hale and built in 1968. In those days they had financial constraints. We grew out of it,” Mr. Felder said.
The club membership includes 300 families. Sailing programs begin Monday, June 29. The Web site is vhyc.org
On July 27, the yacht club will host its annual junior regatta, the club’s premiere junior sailing event. As many as 175 sailors will be competing in 420s.
On Friday, August 14, the club hosts the three-day Sonar New England Championship Regatta. Last year, the event attracted three boats. Mr. Felder said he hopes the event will have more boats this year.
The big Islandwide sailing event of July will be the Vineyard Cup, a three-day weekend of sailing that will take place around the Island July 17-19. Sponsored by Sail Martha’s Vineyard and a major fundraiser for the organization, the sailing competition continues to grow.
Last year, there were over 100 sailboats participating, and program director Brock Callen said this year he expects the number to increase. One of the weekend races is new, called Race to the Bay. Mr. Callen said sailors will race from Vineyard Haven outer harbor to a government marker down toward Buzzards Bay and back.
He said for a $40 entry fee, it’s a weekend of good sailing and good fun.
There is a Web site: vineyardcup.com.
The weekend coincides with the Edgartown Yacht Club’s 86th annual regatta.
The one-design regatta includes sailors competing in boats ranging in size from the tiny eight-foot Optimists sailing off the Edgartown Lighthouse to cruising vessels in the 71st annual 55-mile Round the Island Race. The popular race takes place on Sunday, July 19. Information for that race on the Web is at rtirace.org
The Edgartown Yacht Club has also seen some property expansion this year; the club bought a former private home on the Chappaquiddick shoreline, next to the Chappaquiddick Beach Club. The site will become the junior sailing center for the club. The property is one and a half acres and includes 250 feet of waterfront.
William Roman, now in his 20th year as club manager, said the new center will eliminate some of the problems the club had when the junior yacht club was in the center of town on the harbor. Since the Norton Point breach two years ago, strong currents in the harbor have created dangerous conditions for young sailors. By moving the clubhouse to Chappaquiddick, junior sailors can go out into the outer harbor where the currents are far less treacherous.
The Edgartown Yacht Club has over 890 members and about 160 to 170 junior sailors.
The hallmark yacht club event in August remains the 12-metre regatta, and this year is expected to bring twice the number of boats that competed last year. The event is Friday, August 7 through Sunday August 9. “We could have from 12 to 14 boats coming,” Mr. Roman said. Part of the attraction has to do with the World Championship being held in Newport in September.
The Holmes Hole Sailing Association will have 25 sailing events this summer. The organization is the most affordable way to sail competitively from June through September.
For $60, a sailor can enter any or all of the Thursday and Sunday afternoon races. The club also has some cruises planned, not so much tied to racing, including a rendezvous race to Tarpaulin Cove and Robinson’s Hole. The Web site is holmeshole.org.
“In spite of all the attention towards the economic downturn and the pessimism about the economy, sailing with us is still a fantastic venue to get your sailing fix,” said John Amabile, commodore of the 60-member club, now in its 35th year.
“We lack a facility, so we concentrate all our energy on the water, trying to provide fun and competitive racing,” he added.
The biggest sailing event for this club remains the George Moffett race, scheduled this year for Saturday, September 12. Dozens of boats from all over the Vineyard gather to race across the Sound. The boats are big and small. The number of entries crossing the starting line can be as high as 60. The Moffett race is a sporting way to bring closure to a long summer of sailing.