They Go 'Round the Island in Eight Hours

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By COLEY WARD

Godspeed, captained by John Nugent, won its class in last year's 'Round the Island Race, sponsored by the Edgartown Yacht Club. This year the boat came in third.

What went wrong? Nothing, if you believe Godspeed's crew.

Lee Beckett, who worked the topping lift on Godspeed, said the crew didn't make any mistakes changing sails or directions. She said that maybe a different strategy might have made a difference.

"We didn't race against the boat that won," she said. "We raced our own race, and that hurt us. Maybe we should have paid more attention to what the lead boat was doing and raced more against them."

Godspeed finished behind the winning boat Kinship, a Baltic 52 captained by Frank and Tom Selldorff, and second-place Onowa, a 12-meter captained by Charles M. Parish, in the Performance Handicap Rating Formula (PHRF) A class.

Ms. Beckett said that from a technical standpoint, Godspeed's crew had a great day.

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"The toughest part was anticipating the wind shifts," she said. "Our first downward leg was very good because we anticipated the wind's currents very well."

The 2004 'Round the Island Race was held on Saturday, sponsored by the Edgartown Yacht Club. Boats left the starting line at 8 a.m. The first boat to finish came in just before 4 p.m.

Roger Becker captained his C&C 24 Gloria to a second place finish in the Cruising B class. Mr. Becker said that winning this race, especially on a day with ideal conditions, was largely dependent on luck.

"In this handicap racing, conditions are really important," said Mr. Becker. "You've got to have your day. Anybody will tell you that if they're honest at all."

Boats in the 'Round the Island Race were scored according to the PHRF, which penalizes boats for certain advantages, including sail size and boat size.

Classes were determined by dividing boats into groups according to their ratings. Boats with spinnakers were divided into three groups, while the boats without spinnakers were divided into two groups.

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Dame of Sark, a 40-foot cruising vessel from Edgartown, won the Cruising B class. Zoomer, a C&C 40 captained by Dill Dingwell, won the Cruising A class. Ballyhoo, a J-29 captained by Wesley McMichael, won the PHRF C class. It Wasn't Me, a J 105 captained by Michael Richardson, won the PHRF B class.

Ms. Beckett said that despite Godspeed's disappointing third place finish, its crew had a great day on the water. She compared it to a friendly game of basketball - serious, but still fun.

"It's always tense out there, and it gets more tense when it gets time to change sails, tack or jibe," she said. "But, for the most part all of us have sailed together before and that makes it more fun. You know you don't have to have eyes in the back of your head, and you can trust people."

The crew of the Dame of Sark just got back from sailing in the Bermuda race together. The six crew members stayed energized during Saturday's race by munching on snacks.

"We ate a lot of M&Ms and Jolly Ranchers," said crew member Katie Donovan. "Gum, too. We went through a lot of gum."

An awards ceremony was held on Sunday morning to honor the winners.

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The Hobart A.H. Cook Memorial Trophy is given every year to the Navy boat that comes in first, provided that more than one Navy boat competes. This year the award went to Vigilant, which defeated Swift, the only other Navy boat in the competition.

The New Bedford Yacht Club won the Yacht Club Team Trophy. Yacht clubs are allowed to designate three boats, provided they represent at least two classes, for competition in the team category.

The Concord Cup was awarded to White Wings for crossing the finish line first. White Wings did not win its class because it owed time to other boats according to the PHRF system.

The Venona Trophy went to Dame of Sark for finishing first among boats without spinnakers. The Great Venona Trophy was awarded to Kinship for finishing first among the boats with spinnakers.

The Martha's Vineyard Ocean Race Prize was awarded to the boats from the Edgartown Yacht Club that finished the best. Dame of Sark won the prize in the cruising class, while Godspeed won in the racing class.

Next year's 'Round the Island Race will be held on July 16.