The 54th Shields class national championship, hosted out of the Edgartown Yacht Club, ended on Saturday with Ted Slee’s Newport-based boat, Maverick, taking home the first place prize. In one of the best hometown performances in recent memory, Paul Mitchell of Edgartown worked his way onto the podium.

“We got a fifth!” Mr. Mitchell said at the awards dinner Saturday evening. “We were delighted with it.”

The Shields is a classic Sparkman & Stephens design, 30 feet in length with a 6.5-foot beam and elegant lines. About 20 of the speedy boats participated in the regatta this past week, with five of those based in Edgartown.

“Edgartown’s been racing Shields for quite a while,” race organizer and retired Coast Guard Captain Bob Hurst said. “But this weekend we had racers show up all the way from Monterrey, and boats come up from Long Island Sound and Newport.”

Relatively mild conditions on the first two days gave way to high gales and rain on the latter two. — Louisa Gould

The course is six miles in length, with turnarounds every 1.5 miles. Depending on the wind, race organizers will change the signal cones so the course has two downwind and two upwind legs. For the national championship, relatively mild conditions on the first two days gave way to high gales and rain on the latter two, making for an exciting finish to the event.

“It was wet, wild, lots of wind, lots of bruises,” Mr. Hurst said. “There were big smiles at the end of the day when we got to come in.”

The widest grin came from the face of champion Ted Slee.

“This is our first time racing Shields here in Edgartown and it’s been great,” Mr. Slee said afterward. “I’ve been so lucky to have such great friends I can get out on the water and have fun with. If we’re not having fun, we’re not going fast.”

Mr. Slee came to the event prepared. Weeks before the race, he’d readied his Spotify playlists for the boat and filled an entire excel spreadsheet with score predictions for his competitors, factoring in their performance during the nine-week Shields racing season. After four second-place finishes in the first four races this weekend, Mr. Slee felt confident about his chances, and a first-place finish on Friday, followed by another second, and then another first, sealed the deal.

“On Thursday, the wind was out of the south, but the last two days wind came out of the north and it created big bumpers,” said crewmember Bob Geisser. “We sailed well together, so we were able to overcome the adversity. This was a great fleet we raced against, and they made us work for these results.”

The course is six miles in length, with turnarounds every 1.5 miles. — Louisa Gould

Mr. Slee’s crew on the Maverick faced its own share of adversity as well. Hall of fame sailing tactician Betsy Alison, who’s coached for the U.S. Olympic team and won multiple J21 world championships, slipped and fell during a mark-rounding, slicing her leg with a laceration that extended the entirety of her calf. Ms. Alison refused to seek medical attention on the water, instead opting to tourniquet the wound with her official national championship shirt. Only after the Maverick finished the race in first place did Ms. Alison make her way to the hospital, where she promptly received 40 stitches and a much-needed respite.

“Suffice to say, she’s a very, very tough lady,” said crewmember Anderson Reggio. “Her shirt looked like the Shroud of Turin. She’s thinking about framing it.”

“Betsy’s an unbelievable sailor,” Mr. Geisser added. “All of us couldn’t touch Betsy with a 10-foot pole.”

After Betsy went down on Friday, the Maverick needed to find a replacement for the final two Saturday races. They turned to 17-year-old regional high school student and Sail Martha’s Vineyard product Joe Serpa, who was at home in Edgartown when he got the call Friday night.

“I’ve never sailed Shields before, so it was great having these guys who knew what they were doing showing me the ropes,” Joe said. “And I won a national championship, too.”

Mr. Serpa even got to drive home on the final leg of the last race Saturday.

“It was pretty cool to have Joe,” Mr. Slee said. “Just seeing the smile on his face, I knew we created another Shields racer. We couldn’t have won the race without him.”

Saturday’s awards dinner was the last event of the season for the Edgartown Yacht Club, which is closing its doors for renovations to raise the building by two feet. That meant drinks were on the house, and Mr. Slee’s crew took advantage, filling their trophy to the brim.

At the dinner, Edgartown Yacht Club racer Steven Mettler won most improved sailor and fellow yacht club member Ted Knight won the Gordon Award for the sailor who finishes highest in his or her first competition. The sweetest moment of the evening came moments before the dessert platter, when fifth-place finisher Paul Mitchell honored patron saint of Edgartown Shields racing, John Klein. Mr Klein started Shields racing in 1963 and has finally decided to call it quits.

Mr. Klein, at age 77, worked on the floor deck of his boat all week and got a third in the final race Saturday.

“John is the heart and soul of the Shields fleet no. 80,” Mr. Mitchell said, choking back tears. “And I believe the entire Shields fleet has never had a better participant. Let it be known that the Shields class now recognizes him as one of its great sailors.”