Saturday, June 11, 2016

FIGAWI Fun & Frolic to Nantucket!

Figawi and Vineyard Vines whale mascot (Nantucket, MA)- The 45th Annual Figawi Race Weekend is one of the top sailing events that takes place on the northeast coast over the bank holiday Memorial day weekend and ranks as one of the largest “pursuit-style” races in the world.  The Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season. Sailors from several states crewed the massive fleet of 220+ sailboats, with over 3,000 sailors and visitors enjoying the sailing and fabulous festivities all weekend long.

After the famous Kickoff Party at Hyannis Yacht Club on Friday evening, the competitors gathered early Saturday morning to head out to the start line. The first boat officially began at 10 am off the Hyannis Port Jetty after the parade of sailboats that took place at 0800 hrs sharp!

Depending on the various conditions, the theory of the Pursuit Race format is that all competitors should reach the Nantucket MO(A) Buoy at around the same time. They finish at the entrance of Nantucket Harbor and parade into Nantucket Boat Basin, bowing and waving to the wildly cheering throngs that have gathered together on the beach at Brant Point Light.

Figawi women sailorsAs Stan Grossfeld at the Boston Globe commented, “the Figawi is a salty summer tradition that will always sail onwards.  For local sailors, Figawi is sacred, like Opening Day at Fenway Park. Sailboats trimmed oh-so-tightly seem to float across the water, kicking up a cool, salty spray.

The race’s name has a salty origin. ‘From what I’ve been told,’ said one sailor with a laugh, ‘Figawi is a reference to [someone with a] Bostonian accent... coming out here in the fog and landing in Nantucket and going, ‘Where the [expletive] are we?!’

At times, the sailboats were bunched close enough for the participants to share a sandwich.

‘It was very close,’ said one crew from Duxbury. ‘It was not a day to enjoy a lot of cocktails when you were out on the water. I understand there was a boat that lost a mast. There was a collision right behind us. It gets hairy every once in a while.  But, it’s a blast, and it is a LOT of fun! Especially the partaaays!!’

Figawi sunset off NantucketThis year, the headlines went to a couple of fun-loving landlubbers named Gronk and Edelman, who didn’t even race but partied in the Figawi tent. They weren’t alone. After the race, all across the Nantucket Boat Basin, blenders purred and beers popped in a symphony of celebration. On Saturday night, there was a blood-red sunset; by Sunday morning, there were bloodshot eyes, but there was still plenty of laughter.

What’s the best part of the weekend? ‘The friendship, the people,’ said another salty-dog. ‘I mean, come on. I always say, how many summers do we have left?’” And so it goes.

Reveling in the fun and madness were several J/crews that have enjoyed all that Figawi has to offer; especially in the nice breezy passage they had this year.  In PHRF B Division, Ira Perry’s crew on the J/29 SEEFEST took second in class while Kirk Brown’s J/40 JAZZ finished fourth.  Another J/40 took class honors in PHRF E Division, Bill Jones’ SMITTEN.  Then, in PHRF M Division, Brad Butman’s J/28 SHADOWFAX took home the bronze.

In the racing PHRF Spinnaker 1 division, the J’s took three of the top five.  Jimmy Masiero’s J/122 URSUS MARITIMUS placed third, with David Follett’s J/120 GLORY in fourth and Jon Lacks’ J/105 VIVA fifth.  In PHRF Spinnaker 2 division, it was a clean sweep of the top five by the J/105s, with the trio of Joyce & Reservitz & Wagner sailing DARK’N’STORMY (appropriately named for Figawi, eh??) onto the top of the podium, followed by Art Cox’s LYRIC in second, Chris Lund’s WHOMPER in third, Ed Lobo’s WATERWOLF in fourth and Nick Aswad’s CLIO in fifth.  For more FIGAWI Race sailing information