Henry Sesselberg’s J/105 UBUNTU (Cape Elizabeth, ME), a doublehanded entry in Edgartown Yacht Club’s ’Round the Island Race (‘RTI), managed to sail away with the coveted Venona Trophy in the recently concluded Edgartown Race Weekend. The ’RTI, an annual circumnavigation of Martha’s Vineyard that is one of America’s oldest distance races, realized its 87th running on Saturday, June 22 when 48 boats competed. “The Venona Trophy, an ’RTI overall award as storied as the race is old, is awarded to the team with the fastest corrected time of any fully crewed spinnaker-class boat,” said Principal Race Officer Bob Hurst. “The team also has to be in the class that sails the longest course should the course be shortened for any particular class or classes, which happened this year.” Although Sesselberg and (Chris) Morin sailed doublehanded on UBUNTU in the Doublehanded Class, they were scored for the Venona with their fully crewed rating. “We got somewhat lucky! But, on the other hand, we sailed one of our better doublehanded races ever,” said Sesselberg, explaining that the Doublehanded Class’s downwind spinnaker start was the second behind the PHRF Non-Spinnaker Class, and preceded seven other PHRF Spinnaker classes in what became a decidedly challenging light-air race. UBUNTU got a bit of southeasterly breeze that allowed it to “escape” with others in its class while the starts behind it were delayed due to fog and barely any breeze. Around the bottom of the island (near Muskeget), UBUNTU found another relatively fresh breeze and separated further from the fleet. By the time UBUNTU finished off Gay Head–in a building northwesterly breeze, and on a course shortened by the Race Committee due to impending thunderstorms—only two of the bigger boats from behind had passed it. “My father sailed this race in the early 1950s, so I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Sesselberg. “It’s a wonderful event, and Edgartown loves racers…we have nothing but good things to say. We’ve got to come back!” To Sesselberg’s point, Event Chair Hal Findlay said, “I’m always blown away by how grateful participants are, how excited they are to be here, and how willing they are to keep coming back even if they have to endure trying conditions.” For more event details, visit https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=16270.

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