The Holmes Hole Sailing Association announced its schedule of handicap sailboat racing from Vineyard Haven Harbor for the 2009 summer season. The association will be sponsoring a series of 26 races, in a variety of formats, commencing with a tune-up race in Vineyard or Nantucket Sound on June 14 and concluding with the annual George Moffett Memorial Race on Sept. 12, 2009.

Handicap sailboat racing is designed to allow a wide variety of different boats to compete fairly through a system of time allowances. The Holmes Hole Sailing Association is a collegial group of local skippers that has been sponsoring these races since 1970 with a goal of providing fun competition, with the emphasis on fun. The sailors have found that it is one of the best ways to learn the intricacies of sail trim in all conditions, and to master the interesting and complex waters surrounding Martha’s Vineyard.

The weekly races are divided up into four categories; Harbor, Sound, and Rendezvous races which are run on Sunday, and Thursday night races, which are at 6 p.m. in Vineyard Haven Harbor.

The Harbor races are run on three courses in or just outside of Vineyard Haven Harbor, using primarily navigation buoys as marks. There are two races on each of the scheduled dates, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This year, there are four scheduled, on June 21, July 26, August 23, and Sept. 6.

The Sound races are longer races that are run on three courses that start and finish in Vineyard Haven Harbor and take the fleet out into Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds. They start at noon. and will be run on June 28, July 12, August 16.

The three Rendezvous races start in Vineyard Haven Harbor at 10 a.m. and finish at various beautiful destinations in the area where the fleet anchors, and the sailors have lunch, take a swim, and hear the race results from the Race Committee boat. The first Rendezvous goes to Chappaquddick near the entrance to Edgartown Harbor. This will take place on July 5. The second rendezvous is the Robinson’s Hole Rendezvous, where the fleet sails to a passage between Vineyard Sound and Buzzard’s Bay at the west end of Naushon, and anchors at West Beach on the Buzzards Bay side of the Island. This will take place on August 2. The third rendezvous will take the fleet to Tarpaulin Cove on the Vineyard Sound side of Naushon Island on August 30.

There will be 10 Thursday night races, which start at 6 p.m. and take the fleet around the triangle course of buoys in Vineyard Haven Harbor. These will be run on June 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, and August 6, 13, 20 and 27. The sailors convene at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club after the night races for a burger and race results.

The Moffett Race, a highlight of the season, is Sept. 12. The notice of the race will be issued in August setting the course.

In addition to the association schedule, the club intends to field a large fleet to compete in either the Edgartown Yacht Club Around the Island Race scheduled for July 18 or the Vineyard Cup, the exciting event planned by Sail Martha’s Vineyard scheduled for the weekend of July 17 to 19.

The Holmes Hole Sailing association actively seeks new participants. Any captain of a single hull sailing vessel interested in participating should contact Diane Hartmann at 508-693-6592. Enter your boat, get a handicap, and come on out and have great fun in some of the best and most interesting sailing waters to be found anywhere.