A light but steady breeze and unusually placid Nantucket Sound added up to good conditions for smaller boats in the 44th George Moffett Race on Saturday.

“The most astonishing thing was how smooth the waters were out there,” said Roger Becker, who took second place in his 1984 C&C 24, Gloria — the highest he’s finished in 38 years of racing her in the Moffett, he said.

“I do quite well in the light air when the bigger boats can’t get sailing so fast,” he added, and Saturday’s wind suited his sloop to a T.

But there was plenty of wind for his competitors as they raced the 16-mile course, Mr. Becker added. “All the boats were moving well.”

Overall winner was Peter Cassidy of Mattapoisett, skippered Siren, his 1936 Sparkman & Stephens New York 32. — Louisa Gould

Saturday’s first-place winner, Peter Cassidy of Mattapoisett, skippered Siren, his 1936 Sparkman & Stephens New York 32. Adam Hayes, driving J-35 Bliss in his first Moffett, finished third in the fleet of 32 classic and modern yachts.

“Every boat that registered showed up and finished,” Mr. Becker said. “That, I’d say, is very unusual.”

One vessel withdrew after finishing, Mr. Becker said, having cut a course mark on one of the race legs. Protest hearings, another way to resolve racing disagreements, are virtually unknown in the Moffett Race.

“We encourage a very friendly atmosphere here,” Mr. Becker said. “It’s not about finding the best sailor. It’s about having a good time and celebrating the season.”

While pre-pandemic Moffett fleets have swelled close to twice the size of Saturday’s field, Mr. Becker said this year’s was a notable comeback from the 2020 season, in which numerous skippers never even launched their boats.

Boats are handicapped so all sizes can race together. — Louisa Gould

“We also had a very good turnout of the classic boats, including the winner and three or four schooners,” he said.

Along with Mr. Cassidy’s restored Siren, Saturday’s competitors included 2020 Moffett winner Mo Flam’s Alerion Express 28, Penelope; 2019 winner Alan Wilson’s Stuart Knockabout, Altius; 2018 winner Brian Roberts’s S&S 65, Aileen; Nat Benjamin’s schooner Charlotte, and other designs from Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway on the Vineyard Haven harborfront.

Recent Moffett winners are assessed a 15-second-per-mile handicap for every win in the past five years, Mr. Becker said.

Boats of different sizes and ratings are also handicapped in order to level the field of competition in its celebratory end-of-season race, a come-one-come-all affair in which small-boat skippers can test their mettle against yachts two and three times their vessels’ length.

Navigating the start. — Louisa Gould

“The thing about the Moffett Race that makes it so unusual is that we race every kind of boat on one course, in one class — tiny boats against big boats, modern boats against classic boats,” Mr. Becker said. “The Moffett accepts anybody. It’s all-inclusive. You don’t have to go through any vetting process, or anything like that.”

Starting and finishing outside Vineyard Haven Harbor, the fleet went off in two divisions, a holdover from seasons when registration neared 70 diverse vessels and a single starting line became impracticable. The course, selected from 10 potential diagrams by race officer Ellen Pesch based on weather conditions, took them on a roughly trapezoidal route that skirted the L’Hommedieu, Hedge Fence and Squash Meadow shoals.

“There’s usually a lot of seas and chop in the Nantucket Sound part of the race,” Mr. Becker said. “This one was just totally pleasurable... It’s so much fun to be out there with all those other boats.”

More pictures.

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