Monday, July 17, 2017

Fast, Record-breaking Marblehead to Halifax Race

J/120 sailing Marblehead to Halifax Race (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)– A fleet of 75 boats crossed the starting line off Marblehead Harbor and set a 353nm course to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The skies were fair and winds out of the southwest, averaging 10 knots to start the 2017 biennial edition of the Marblehead-to-Halifax regatta that dates to 1905.  “The competitors were forcing each other up to the starting line, so I am predicting 363 miles of head-to-head competition,” said Anne Coulomb, of the Boston Yacht Club, co-director of the race. The fleet started near Halfway Rock and head west toward the shore, turning south just off Marblehead Neck, before turning again at Tinkers Rock, to then set a course for Halifax, 363 nautical miles away!

The Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race began in 1905. It has been held every other year, except during war time. The event is sponsored by the Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. It caps a full weekend of Independence Day festivities in Marblehead which includes 4th of July fireworks, the Marblehead Arts Festival and the harbor illumination.

J/120 starting Marblehead to Halifax RaceThe 363-mile journey is billed as the “grand daddy” of ocean races. It was inaugurated in 1905, one year before another East Coast classic, the Newport Bermuda Race. The Marblehead to Halifax race originally ran as an occasional, informal competition between sailors from the Boston and Eastern Yacht Clubs in Marblehead and the New York Yacht Club. In 1939, it was established as a biennial event, on years when the race to Bermuda isn’t scheduled.

In the early races, most crews needed five days to reach Halifax, the coastal capital of Nova Scotia. Today, a former top J/24 sailor, Paul McDowell and friends on board the 68 ft Prospector, set a new course record of 28 hrs 28 min 50 sec!!

Just under 20 hours behind them, the J/44 KENIA from Houston, TX, finished in 47 hrs 43 min 26 sec to win class honors in the IRC 2 Class!

Marblehead to Halifax Race courseIn ORR 3 Class, Fred Allardyce’s J/40 MISTY placed 4th, completing the track in 53 hrs 1 min 4 secs!  Though completing the course over 3 hours faster, veteran Halifax Race skipper Brad Willauer and his crew on the J/46 BREEZING UP could not overcome their handicap deficit to their class mates and ended up 6th in class on handicap.  Similarly, Will Passano’s J/37 CARINA finished behind the J/40 on elapsed time and was 9th on handicap.

The eleven-boat PHRF 2 Division nearly saw a clean sweep by J/crews.  Winning was Bob Manchester’s J/120 VAMOOSE, followed by Jim Praley’s J/120 SHINNECOCK in 3rd, Gardner Grant’s J/120 ALIBI in 4th, Jeff Eberle’s J/130 CILISTA in 6th, Stu McCrea’s J/120 DEVIATION in 7th, Kris Kristiansen’s J/130 SAGA in 9th and Keith Amirault’s J/130 DRAGONFLY in 10th.

In the twelve-boat PHRF 3 Division, Eliot Shanabrook’s J/109 HAFA ADAI captured the bronze, while Evan Petley-Jones’s J/35 HARRIER placed 6th.  Follow the Marblehead to Halifax Race on Facebook here  For more Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.