Figawi Time!

40th Annual Figawi Kicks off Saturday


Spectators lined up along the breakwaters near the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Massachusetts to view the beginning of last year'sl Figawi Race on Saturday. David Curan photo.

I should probably do this article tomorrow morning, when it is closer to the start of the race... but I will either be very happy or ready to kill by then, depending on how the Bruins game goes.

The Mya in the 2010 race. David Curran photo.

So, without any further ado, let's have a look at the Figawi Race Weekend. Figawi is a sailing race, held on the annual each Memorial Day weekend..

Fun Figawi Facts

- It was started by some guys sitting at a bar in 1972. A good-natured conversation turned into "I can sail to Nantucket faster than you can," and here we are today. Bob "Mr. Moose" and Joe "Movie Star" Horan, and Bob "Red" Luby were the first racers.

- Red won.

- Local rumor has it that "Figawi" is a Cape Cod accent applied to the end part of the "Where the fuck are we?" sentence uttered by the lost wife/girlfriend of one of the Originals.

- The basic race runs from Hyannis Port to Nantucket.

- The race went from 3 boats to a larger institution after a discussion by the founders over a cheese wheel.

- Figawi turns 40 this weekend.

- From a low of 3 boats at Figawi #1, we will set off 227 vessels this weekend.

- I don't know if any of the original Figawi guys are still alive.

- Figawi features 14 different classes, so Joe Schmuck on his battered sailboat won't have to take on an America's Cup crew.

- While I don't know how the race is mapped out, the implementation of the Cape Wind project could very well turn this race into a slalom.

- A reverse Figawi, in which I presume you know exactly where you are, kicks off from Nantucket on Monday, and everyone races back to Hyannis Port.

- The race starts at 10 AM tomorrow. If you just want to hang out, try the Hyannis Port jetty or watch from Kalmus and Veterans beaches in Hyannis. On Nantucket, the approaching fleet can be viewed from Brant Point.

- If Universal Studios ever decides to sell me the Jaws shark (I have made repeated inquiries), I will immediately moor it off Hyannis Port and re-enact the Jaws II climax during the next Figawi. If someone pulls up an electirc cable and hits it with an oar, they will deserve to destroy my fake shark.

The story of The Figawi

As the race website describes the event;

Along time ago, four sailors started out from Baxters Boathouse in Hyannis to race their sailboats to Nantucket. That race would be the first of the Figawi Race Weekends, and the beginning of what has become a Cape Cod tradition.

It was 1972, a few friends thought a friendly, competitive sail to Nantucket would be a fun way to spend the weekend. Therefore, with wives and a few friends aboard as crew, the skippers headed out to see who had the fastest boat in getting to the island.

What was then organized as a "fun race to Nantucket" soon became an annual trip across Nantucket Sound.

Today the Figawi is celebrated as New England's first major sailing event of the season and the race was sold out again this year with 230 sailboats and 28 power boats participating. See the entire list of boats and sailors here.

Good luck, everyone!

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