Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race Preview

Published on June 29th, 2017

Onshore spectators will have a birds’ eye view of the start of the 37th Biennial Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race on July 9, 2017.

“These yachts are spectacular under sail,” says Jennie Aspinall, vice commodore of the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA and co-chair of the event. “If the wind and weather are favorable we hope as many people as possible will enjoy the sight.”

The sailboats will start near Halfway Rock and head west toward the shore, turning south just off Marblehead Neck before turning again at Tinkers Rock to set a course for Halifax, 363 nautical miles away.

The racing fleet will include Ticonderoga, the classic 85’ L. Francis Herreshoff designed ketch and two sailboats from the U.S. Naval Academy sailing squadron. Apollo and Wahoo will be competing for the Academy Cup. Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron Co-Race Director Richard Hinterhoeller says 34 of the yachts registering for the 37th competition are newcomers to the Marblehead, MA to Halifax Ocean Race, there are four entrants that have only missed two races since 1997. Richard Hinterhoeller of RNSYS says one of those racing has entered every Marblehead to Halifax since 1997.

In all, 75 boats are anticipated to participate.

If the weather is good, upwards of 250 boats with on water spectators are expected along the starting course where viewers will get a close-up view. The course after the start of the race will be shown by red, yellow, orange and green floating buoys.
The inshore starting area was successfully initiated in 2011. Hundreds gathered on shore to watch the start.

“The only thing that would change this viewer friendly configuration would be unfavorable wind conditions, which are unlikely for this season of the year,” according to Anne Coulombe the Boston Yacht Club Co-Race Director and Primary Race Officer for the start of the race.

Yachting enthusiasts can follow the progress of the race on the website. Each competitor will be equipped with a GPS transponder. “The progress of each yacht can be tracked on our website, and you can replay the racing sequence during and after the race ends,” she said.

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.

“The town takes on a truly international feel during Halifax,” Aspinall says. It is one of the highlights of the summer.



Source: Event media

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