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Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race: Good to be Spookie

Published on July 8th, 2015

Halifax, NS (July 8, 2015; Day 4) – About three quarters of the racing fleet in the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race has arrived after an event marked by highly varied wind conditions. The Carkeek HP 40 Spookie, owned by Steve and Heidi Benjamin, lead the fleet for most of the 363nm race securing line honours and first place in IRC overall and in Division 1. Spookie crossed the finish line at 18:34:25 Tuesday evening, July 7.

“This is a fast boat, especially downwind,” remarked Benjamin “The conditions suited Spookie which has a light displacement, a large sail area combined with a flat hull shape.” Benjamin says the crew also made excellent decisions dealing with light air off Cape Sable and the currents. “The strongest wind the boat had to work with was right at the finish line.”

The next finisher came in four hours later. Shout, a Farr 40 from the Constitution Yacht Club in Brookline, Mass is owned by John Chuang. Shout is in first position in PHR-1.

A first time participant is in second place in that class. Evolution is owned by Eben Moulton and crewed by Gloucester, Mass sailors. Rob Bent was on the helm last night and describes in vivid detail what it was like to drive the boat in the dark: “I felt like I was in a snowstorm where you lose the sense of what’s up and what’s down. We were going fast. The fog was thick and the waves were coming at us. When I would turn the boat, I could completely lose my sense of space.”

Others who have done the race many times describe the conditions as “typical” for the Marblehead Race. The crew on the Lunenburg, N.S. boat Wandrian have a total of 70 Marblehead races under their belt. David Roy recalls “floating around for a while” and some reshuffling of the fleet when someone found the wind coming up. “We’re happy to be home but we are ready to do it again.”

RNSYS Commodore Ed Steeves agrees the conditions were fairly typical but he said it was warmer than normal along the Nova Scotia coast: “Even the fog was warm this year,” according to Steeves.

Jeff Eberle of Concord, Mass. is also a veteran of the race. He’s marking his 20th race over the last forty years. Sitting with his crew on Cilista in Halifax, he describes getting a big hug from the RNSYS club historian when he arrived: “That was heart warming, for sure.” Eberle’s crew chimes in that no one got sick and no gear was broken. But like most seasoned racers, they would have preferred a stronger finish. “We made good decisions along the way and managed to make a comeback from the light air on Monday to be in a good position to finish well. But we hit a wall outside Halifax and watched the whole fleet catch up.” The J 130 SD finished well down in its PHR-1 class.

Former race chair Bill Greenwood owns the Canadian boat with the best finish on corrected time. Airborne IV is in first place in PHR-3 in the provisional results. His crew includes five Greenwoods and also long time friend and crew member David Stanfield who is the co-chair of this year’s race for RNSYS.

The Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race is co-sponsored by the Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.

The remaining boats on the race course will continue to arrive in Halifax through the day. The prize ceremony is planned for Thursday evening at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.

Race detailsTrackerResults

Report by Kathy Large.

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