Current Waters: Nantucket Race Week

Capt. Carl Bois •

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Well, we’re kind of starting over after all this wind. Prior to the wind the bluefish and stripers had been good. There is still lots of bait around which is always good for whatever you’re fishing for.

Bonita and albies are here and part of the conversation. They’re being caught, but I don’t believe we have the heavy biomass just yet. Maybe this weather event will mix things up.

All this weather will certainly shuffle the deck for tuna fishing, but it has been strong for recreation-sized fish.

For many people the water is all about fishing. But there are many other ways to enjoy Nantucket waters. This week is great to be on the water or just watching from shore – it is Nantucket Race Week.

Nantucket Race Week is hosted by the Nantucket Yacht Club and the Great Harbor Yacht Club to benefit Nantucket Community Sailing (NCS), a non-profit, educational organization that provides affordable access to sailing and water sports to the public. Events go through Sunday, August 21. There is an event for everyone from novice sailors to families and experienced racers. People race for fun, bragging rights, and a good time.

The full schedule of events can be found here. Some races have already happened and you can view the results. Nantucket Race Week helps support Nantucket Community Sailing and its mission of getting the community of Nantucket out on the water. The women’s regatta was held Thursday with skipper Ruth Barney and crew Connie Crosby and Maeve O'Sullivan taking the lead. There was even a kiteboard regatta scheduled. However, due to insane Nantucket irony, no kiteboarding races happened due to lack of wind last Sunday. Keep an eye out for possible rescheduling.

Even if you’re not a sailor, there is a way to be involved! The Nantucket Boat Basin will have Classic Yacht Exhibition from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Everyone’s favorite event, the one that has been immortalized in many a painting, the Rainbow Fleet parade starts off the Opera House Cup race this Sunday. The weather looks pretty good that day.

After races Friday and Saturday, Nantucket Race week culminates in the Opera House Cup. This is the 50th anniversary year of the Opera House Cup (OHC), the coveted Nantucket race and grand finale of Nantucket Race week. The OHC Regatta was the first all-wooden, single-hulled classic boat regatta on the East Coast, and it attracts some of the finest sailboats in the country.

Sunday’s Rainbow Fleet parade is followed closely by the parade of wooden boats as they head out to the race course for the OHC. The racing is held in Nantucket Sound, with a picture-perfect race mark just off the beach at the Great Point Lighthouse – lots of boating eye candy.

The full list of participating boats and skippers is here. There are boats from all over, but plenty of Nantucket representation. For me, it’s like picking a horse for the Kentucky Derby – what names do you like? Thor from Oyster Bay, New York? Santana from Nantucket? Or how about the Lark? Lark is now based in Martha’s Vineyard and skippered by former Nantucket resident (Secretary of State and presidential candidate), John Kerry.

It’s also good to note for those fishermen (and women). Be mindful that the heavily used route from Jetties to Great Point will be intersected by race boats. This has been a continued hazard over the years. Maybe someday this will change. Ahem.

Between the actual races and boating events there are also lots of parties as part of Race Week. Whether you’re fishing or sailing, or both, Nantucket always finds a way to have a good party. And hey, it’s for the kids!

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