Re-tooling format to maximize participation

Published on July 10th, 2018

There’s a revival of interest in point-to-point racing, using government marks or geographic landmarks to define the course. When compared to windward-leeward racing, the random-leg format offers a more casual atmosphere for boat owners less willing to invest in racing at a higher level.

Two such events are re-tooling their format even further in 2018 to maximize participation:

• One of America’s oldest distance races – Edgartown Yacht Club’s ‘Round-the-Island Race – got a new little sister this year. The classic 56 nautical mile romp around Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, which is part of Edgartown Race Weekend, now has a shorter 20 nm course around government marks in Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds to give sailors an alternative distance. “We’re calling it ’Round-the-Sound, and it’s in effect an ‘ocean race’ within a mile of shore at all times,” said EYC Big Boat Racing Committee Co-Chair, Hal Findlay.

For Bradley Campbell and his Bristol 36, he sees the shorter course as a better fit for him. “It’s easier to use less experienced crew if it’s a shorter race, and after signing up for last year’s Round-the-Island Race, I thought I would try this, since I could also use less people. A couple of the crew are new to racing, and I want to make it cool. We want to have a weekend in Martha’s Vineyard: get a race in and still have time to meet friends for dinner.” Details.

• The 62nd Annual Wirth M. Munroe Ocean Race along Florida’s east coast will see the addition of a second course, from Fort Lauderdale to Palm Beach. The new course, called The Sprint, will be 40 nautical miles, and will complement the existing 60-mile Miami-to-Palm Beach track, known as The Classic.

“The shorter option is particularly appealing to the smaller boats and cruising sailors since it will enable them to finish in time for the Sailfish Club’s legendary Rum Punch reception, buffet dinner and awards ceremony,” said Tom Bowler, event chair for the Sailfish Club, noting how the longer course is more suited to the most experienced sailors due to the near-shore weather patterns and ever-changing Gulf Stream currents and eddies which puts a premium on strategy and preparation. Details.

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