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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

J/Teams dominate Marblehead to Halifax Race!

by J-Boats 16 Jul 2023 19:48 BST
Jump, a J/133 out of Portsmouth NH and skippered by Chris Lund - 2023 Marblehead to Halifax Race © Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race

The 39th biennial 363.0nm Marblehead-to-Halifax race featured a spectacular start with brightly colored spinnakers outside Marblehead Harbor on July 9th, Sunday. Up to 600 sailors on 70 boats in 11 fleets sailed downwind and made a turn off Tinker's Island, setting course for Halifax, Nova Scotia. The conditions had poor visibility, plenty of fog, and moderate winds.

The race is quite popular with New England J/sailors from across the spectrum of our cruising and racing sailboats.

ORR 3 Division- J/Crews Dominate Top 5!

This ten-boat fleet had seven J/teams racing that all have considerable offshore experience. It was self-evident in the standings with J's taking 4 of the top five positions. Winning was Matt Stokes's J/133 BLUE JAY III, with Chris Lund's J/133 JUMP taking the bronze, followed by Bob Manchester's J/133 VAMOOSE in fourth place, and Ray Rhinelander's J/133 BELLA J in fifth place!

ORR 4 Division- J/Crew Sweep Top 7!

As one of the largest fleets in the race with eleven boats, the vast majority of them were J's. eight to be exact! And, they swept the top 7 places... surprise, surprise!

Winning the division and overall by nearly 3 hours was Andrew Clark's J/122 ZIG ZAG, they were 5th boat to finish overall beating much larger 45 to 55 footers! Their bold move in the race came on a foggy dark evening when the fleet was playing shifts into the southeast corner of Nova Scotia towards Cape Sable Island... when the fleet zigged east, ZIG ZAG zagged, appropriately, going left and north of the fleet near shore. Their track took them between Seal Island and Mud Island where they clearly picked up a good breeze and passed most of the larger boats offshore. It was that strategy that enabled them to win by a significant margin.

In their first outing into the twilight zone of the Halifax race, it's likely that Chris Lewis's J/44 KENAI team hadn't experienced such dense fog and light winds in their lifetimes! Nevertheless, their navigator/ strategist did one helluva job and they managed to knife through the "pea soup fog banks" to take the silver medal... an amazing accomplishment!

On the final step of the podium, it was Jim Phyfe's J/44 DIGGER taking the bronze medal... a well-deserved effort for the Narragansett Bay team!

The rest of the top seven included Greg Morse's J/122 ORION in fourth, Ken Luczynki's J/44 KINGS POINT- COMET in fifth, John Stork family's J/130 BLITZEN in sixth, and Eric Irwin & Mary Martin's J/122 ALLIANCE in seventh place. That is quite a remarkable performance by that collection of J/crews!

ORR 5 Division

In the six-boat fleet were just two J/109s and both of them hopped gleefully onto the podium! Yet, another amazing performance by J/crews! Taking the silver medal was Eliot Shanabrook's HAFA ADAI and David Esseks's TWIGA took the bronze medal... "high fives" all around on the podium, too!

PHRF 1 Division

This nine-boat class featured two fast J/42 cruising boats that also happen to win a lot of silverware! Living up to that legendary capability was Kurt Locher's J/42 ATALANTA, taking the silver medal for their hard-won efforts.

More Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information here.

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