by Sarah Teach
Nantucket Race Week is in full swing as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Opera House Cup (OHC) Regatta. Sailors and landlubbers alike can delight in watching Nantucket’s Rainbow Fleet round Brant Point this Sunday, August 19 at 9:30 a.m. This classic parade, memorialized in the famous print by Marshall Gardner, kicks off the regatta. Boats should be in position in the harbor at 9 a.m. and the parade will begin promptly at 9:30. Spectators can watch from the beaches at Brant Point, Children’s Beach, or Coatue.
The OHC Regatta was the first all-wooden, single-hulled classic boat regatta on the East Coast, and attracts some of the finest sailboats in the country. The OHC is a Clean Regatta as certified by Sailors for the Sea, which means that the following conditions are being met or exceeded: Land-based
water quality initiatives are supported; reusable water bottles are used, along with water refill stations. Sailors are encouraged to use bicycles and public transportation while on the island. Bilge sponges are on every boat; and the use of green cleaning products and environmentally friendly bottom paint (the kind that doesn’t leak copper into the water) is promoted. No discharge enters the harbor; glass, plastic, metal and paper are recycled; and finally, there is a “green team” of folks who collect trash and recyclables.
Perhaps best of all, the exclusive OHC Regatta and Awards Party benefit Nantucket Community Sailing, which offers affordable sailing opportunities every year to well over 1,000 island kids who would not otherwise be able to experience the time-honored Nantucket tradition of sailing. Nantucket Community Sailing (NCS), a non-profit, educational organization that provides affordable access to sailing and water sports to the public. Now in its 16th year, NCS served over 2,000 sailors last year, providing free equipment and instruction through many community outreach programs, including sponsoring and coaching Nantucket’s High School Sailing Team, offering scholarships to year-round island youth, running informal sailboat races for all levels and teaching adaptive windsurfing and rowing clinics for disabled athletes.