The 52nd Opera House Cup Regatta will be held on Sunday, August 18, 2024. A cherished tradition, the Opera House Cup Regatta is held on the third Sunday of August in Nantucket Sound. The Opera House Cup 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. Past participants include former America’s Cup winners (Intrepid, Weatherly, Columbia), well-known competitors (Ticonderoga, Wild Horses, Blackwatch, Dorade, Santana) and other notable yachts as the Mystic Seaport schooner Brilliant and the J Class yacht Ranger. On the smaller side, prestigious boats in the Wianno Senior class and the classic Herreshoff-designed and Nantucket-built Alerions challenge the big boys.
Boats are scored using the CRF rating formula and compete within the divisions of the Classic Yacht Owners Association (CYOA). Boats that don’t meet the Opera House Cup qualifications such as having a wooden hull and white sails, may be invited to race in the Invitational Division if they are historic or otherwise add to the spectacle of the regatta. The Opera House Cup Regatta is part of the CYOA Classic Yacht Series, and is the grand finale of Nantucket Race Week.
Opera House Cup weekend begins with a Classic Yacht Exhibition along the docks of the Nantucket Boat Basin on Saturday evening. The public is invited to stroll the docks and go aboard the magnificent boats, where the owners can answer questions and share the boat’s history. Sunday morning starts with the beloved Rainbow Parade of beetle cats around the Brant Point lighthouse, and the Parade of Wooden Boats leaving Nantucket Harbor as they head out the channel to the race course. There is always a large crowd on the beach at Brant Point to see the boats sail by.
The race course is usually about 20 miles long in the waters of Nantucket Sound, with a picture-perfect race mark just off the beach at the Great Point Lighthouse. The day culminates with the OHC Awards Party, held under the tents on Jetties Beach. Camaraderie, good food, raw bar, drinks, photos of the race, presentation of the awards and dancing to a band keep the party jumping into the evening. The OHC Awards Party is considered “the party of the season” on Nantucket and is limited to OHC participants and sponsors.
The OHC Regatta and Awards Party benefit Nantucket Community Sailing.