Thursday, July 18, 2013

Marblehead-Halifax Race Preview

J/111 one-design speedster- BLAST- sailing Marblehead to Halifax race (Marblehead, MA)- Saturday was the start of the 35th Marblehead to Halifax race and although the wind was light, nearly 80 boats set off in the afternoon for the 360nm race. The boats cross the Gulf of Maine, pass Cape Sable, reach the Labrador Current and end up in Halifax sometime this week. The racing teams can be followed on Yellowbrick Tracker-

Many J offshore teams love to do this incredibly challenging race, despite somewhat difficult conditions like ships, ferries, "pea soup" fog, cold water, rain and overcast skies.  For many, it's the "means to an end", the end being the gorgeous harbor of Halifax and the wonderful cruising areas nearby that are a rare treat for those who've partaken in the more sybaritic pursuits in life-- cruising way, way "downeast" can be simply breath-taking!

Taking that baton and running with it in IRC 2 are the famous J/105 team, now turned "fast cruisers" on their J/44 KINCSEM, Joerg Esdorn and Duncan Hennes from New York YC and American YC.  If there's a reach and a run, they will be awfully difficult to knock off the top spot on the podium.

Similarly, IRC 3 has some veteran champion offshore teams participating as well. Counted amongst them are Peter Rugg's famous J/105 JADED, Steve Berlack's J/42 ARROWHEAD and Fred Allardyce's J/40 MISTY.

Over half of PHRF 2 division are J/Teams.  Two J/130s lead the charge with Jeff Eberle's CILISTA and Kris Kristiansens's SAGA dueling for class bragging rights. Glenn Gault's very successful run in 2013 on his J/120 REBECCA could add another feather in their cap with a podium finish in this famous race; sistership BLACK PEARL skippered by Ross Leighton will give them a run for the money.  Plus, having proven they can sail their boat extremely quick and clean house last year in the Nova Scotia offshore circuit, Mark Surrette's team on the J/111 BLAST should also be in the hunt for silverware.

Five J's are sailing PHRF 3 with a trio of sharp J/109 teams dominating their class.  Gary Weisberg's HEAT WAVE, John Doub's RESOLVE and Paul Rafuse's WISC will be in the hunt. Chasing them will be Ann Petley-Jones's J/35 HARRIER and Paul Conrod's CASTANEA.

Finally, the lone J in PHRF Cruising will be Reggie Goodday's beautiful J/44 AKUBRA from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.  For more Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information