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Figawi on the other side

Nantucket Harbor, MA

We were last year in Hyannis when the annual Figawi race departed towards Nantucket and wrote about it. This year we found ourselves on the other end of the race, in Nantucket. The race starts on the Saturday morning of the Memorial Day weekend and all boaters spend the weekend in Nantucket, whose harbor is packed by their sailing and motor boats. Besides the boaters, throngs of college students invade the island, but primarily its harbor,¬† for a three day weekend of boozing and heavy partying. The harbor bars’ lines start to form even before the bars are opened in the morning and they never subside even in the late hours of the night. In spite of this year unseasonable chilly weekend all are waiting long time outside hoping for a warm up with the booze and the crowds inside the bars that are completely packed almost bursting through the windows. Wherever you go in Nantucket during this weekend you’d stumble upon other long lines. A little bit further from the harbor a huge tent is hosting the largest party in town, attended both by boaters and students, all moving Brownianly from party to party. Of course in the evening the heavy booze is taking its toll on the charming cobble stones streets of Nantucket.

Line for entering the bar in Nantucket Harbor, MA

As long as we are not into heavy boozing we chose to go for a long bike ride. The island is crisscrossed by bike trails and the best is the 20+ miles loop trail that leaves the harbor and the town and goes all the way to its other side in Siasconset, passing on its return the lighthouse of Sankaty Head, The lighthouse was built in the middle of the 19th century and the heavy winds and waves erode heavily the bluffs close to it. After many years of talks, the funds were allocated  and, about 9 years ago, it was finally relocated, not far but sufficiently not to be endangered.

Sankaty Head Lighthouse, Nantucket, MA

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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in Blog, USA




Kalmus Beach, before the race- Hyannis, Cape Cod, MA

What started as a “fun race to Nantucket” as a weekend pass time sometimes in the early 70s morphed in time in a well established Cape Cod tradition, the Figawi race. Hyannis Port is packed during Memorial Day weekend by over 240 boats and attended by more than 3000 people who came to visit or participate in the race. Supported and joined also by the Kennedys, who have their compound here and are well known for a long sailing tradition, the race was soon joined by skippers from off-Cape areas so it grew from a several friend fun happening to a mass event with a large list of sponsors and a charity ball.
The boats moored over night in Kalmus Beach, off Hyannis port, leave early morning to Nantucket, planned to arrive more or less in the same time in the island where their entry parade is attended by the local crowds.
According to the urban dictionary, the word figawi supposedly comes from drunken sailors with the New England accent landing on Nantucket and asking the question, “Where the fuck are we?”


Figawi race

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Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Blog, USA