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Figawi, The Story Behind the Annual Boat Race Between Hyannis and Nantucket

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In 1972, a pleasant dialog amongst associates at Baxter’s Boathouse in Hyannis, MA escalated to a problem to see who might sail their boat to Nantucket the quickest over Memorial Day weekend. This was the inception of Figawi Race Weekend, a Nantucket and Cape Cod custom that has grown significantly in recognition because it’s casual begin in 1972 due to names like Kennedy and Koch becoming a member of the competitors within the 80s and past.

Initially billed as a enjoyable race throughout Nantucket Sound over Memorial Day weekend, Figawi grew by leaps and bounds in the course of the 70s—a lot so {that a} lay day was added in 1978 together with a race again to Hyannis, because the race committee, now previously organized, turned the Figawi from a in the future race into a 3 day weekend occasion. Because it’s inception, the race and 3-day festivities have drawn hundreds of sailors, crusing lovers and people who simply need to be a part of this enjoyable custom to Nantucket for Memorial Day weekend.

The annual race, which raises cash for numerous charities, is sponsored by various firms together with Winery Vines (their boat is the Nancy A), Budweiser, Sam Adams, Mount Homosexual, Viking River Cruises and Coca Cola. And although the race is aggressive, the emphasis on this occasion has all the time been about pleasant camaraderie and the festivities following the race.

The Title

Why is it known as Figawi? Legend has it that in the course of the first race again in 1972, there was a thick fog that blanketed Nantucket Sound. This induced confusion for a number of the sailors who have been on the lookout for the island of Nantucket (no GPS again then) and in flip started asking one another “the place the f**okay are we?” Though think about that sentence in a deep Boston accent and “The place the Figawi?”…or just “Figawi” was born.

The Race

The forty fourth Annual Figawi Race Weekend is acknowledged as a prime crusing occasion not solely on the east coast however is thought nationally in addition to internationally. Figawi Race Weekend kicks off the Cape Cod and Nantucket summer season season with this 12 months’s race boasting 226 boats and over 3,000 sailors and guests, in addition to many locals who attend the occasion as spectators. Entries embody sailors from Virginia, Washington, DC; Alabama, Indiana, California, Hawaii, South Carolina, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island and various harbors all through Massachusetts.

The 200-plus boats are organized into courses primarily based on a posh components often called PHRF (efficiency handicap racing fleet) that takes many variables, from sail measurement to propeller drag, under consideration. This assures, in concept at the very least, that each one the boats compete on a degree taking part in subject. The begins are additionally staggered, with quicker boats beginning final, all racing for the island of Nantucket, some 30 miles away. The gap, nonetheless just isn’t a straight line—completely different courses of boats are despatched off on completely different vectors, relying on the various variables of mom nature, like wind pace/path, sea state and wave heights. Relying on the assorted circumstances, the speculation of the “Pursuit Race” format is that each one rivals ought to attain the Nantucket MO(A) at across the identical time, on the entrance of Nantucket Harbor.

Figawi, The Story Behind the Annual Boat Race Between Hyannis and Nantucket

The Occasion

As soon as on Nantucket skippers and their supporters will head to the Figawi Tent Occasion close to the Boat Basin to get pleasure from Goombay smash’s, Darkish N’ Stormies and stay music compliments of Shea Rose, whereas the remainder of the group will seemingly pour into Slip 14, Straight Wharf and the Lobster Lure to rejoice the event. The Rooster Field, an island establishment for over 50 years, can be a preferred spot throughout Figawi weekend, with stay music all weekend lengthy.

On Sunday, the Figawi Tent Occasion continues with a joke telling ceremony within the morning adopted by the normal lobster clambake, awards ceremony and extra stay music. The trek again to Hyannis begins at 9:30am Monday morning.

The Hats

Figawi hats, which debuted within the late Nineteen Seventies, are extremely prized equipment given solely to the sailors within the race. Mount Homosexual embroiders hats particularly for every of their 140 sponsored regattas worldwide—together with Figawi. Not more than three are distributed to every ending workforce, so veteran sailors see them as badges of honor. Additionally they grant entry to the Figawi tent and stealing them has change into a convention for island youth. Teams of youngsters have been identified to plot elaborate schemes to acquire these wanted gadgets. One or two will strike up a dialog with a sailor, whereas a runner will stealthily sneak up behind and seize it off the unsuspecting sailors’ head.

The escape 

Figawi is a superb time, however like all weekend social gathering occasion it’s your decision a break from the scene and noise. Cisco Brewery, Nantucket Winery and Triple Eight Distillery, positioned all collectively on Bartlett Farm Highway, are the right place to interact in just a little festive conduct away from the group. Get pleasure from a big assortment of freshly brewed craft beer at Cisco, together with their well-known Whale’s Story Pale Ale. Triple Eight Vodka has change into considerably of a neighborhood (and mainland) favourite too. The “Figawi Wowie” which is comprised of their signature blueberry vodka, lemonade and soda water is a favourite among the many race weekend crowd and just about all summer season lengthy.

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GoodLife Report

Whit Prepare dinner is the Founder/Writer of GoodLife Report (GLR), a way of life web site geared in the direction of women and men who like distinctive merchandise and experiences. GLR editors have written for outstanding publications and internet sites together with Wine Spectator, Cigar Aficionado, Journey+Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Submit, Males’s Journal and Pursuitist.

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