SAILING SEASON PREVIEW: Marblehead summer racing slate short, but packed with action

Laurie Fullerton
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The summer racing season is short in Marblehead, but the town’s renowned sailing community takes advantage of every moment with high-level sailboat racing both mid-week and weekends for many competitors, while the larger fleets also take advantage of offshore, overnight regattas.

July and August are extremely busy for all the town’s yacht clubs, with coveted events like the Beringer Bowl Overnight Ocean Race on July 22 and Sailing World’s Marblehead Race Week starting July 28.

August will feature the Corinthian Classic Regatta and the Ted Hood Regatta, while September will bring 80 teams from 10 countries into town the International 2022 Star Worlds.

Despite the impressive events on deck this summer, smaller clubs have also attracted strong participation by adapting to the needs of today’s sailors.

The classic yacht Dorade and Blue Pigeon pass historic Baker’s Light during the Corinthian Classic last summer. The event is set for Aug. 13 and 14 this year. COURTESY PHOTO/Bruce Durkee

The Marblehead Yacht Club will host the very popular Down East Challenge on July 29-30, featuring a 90-mile-long distance overnight race to Portland, Maine, which will finish at Four Points Marina.

“As a 90-mile offshore race, it fosters camaraderie among all those who participate, whether it is talking about the challenges of an offshore race, the things they saw overnight or enjoying the satisfaction of reaching one’s destination,” said Eliot Shanabrook, chairman of the Regatta Committee.  “The competition is great, and making landfall is unique. We are a low-key club, but we have great race management, interest and experience.”

Marblehead resident and skipper Tom Egan on board his Cal 40 classic ‘Misirlou’ racing in last year’s Corinthian Classic. COURTESY PHOTO/Bruce Durkee

This fact may best be illustrated by the support the MYC offers to Marblehead’s Town Class.

The 12-metre Valiant owned by Gary Gregory of Marblehead competing in last year’s Corinthian Classic. COURTESY PHOTO/Bruce Durkee

“When the Town Class put the trawl in at Riverhead Beach, we offered them the use of our aluminum skiff to get out to their boats, and they have also received a non-boating membership, which gives them access to the club and the galley,” Shanabrook said. “The Town Class is now racing five times a week in Marblehead in summer.”

One more anticipated event for the MYC is the Clemson Chase Race on Aug. 28. Named for longtime member Newt Clemson, who died eight years ago, it is a “super friendly pursuit race,” where each competitor has a handicap, Shanabrook explained.

The Boston Yacht Club is another busy club on the town side and race committee chairwoman Leslie Marquette notes that the ever-popular Wednesday night racing is getting people out sailing mid-week. Further, the club is now preparing for the start of the Beringer Bowl Overnight Ocean Race to Provincetown on July 22. Following this, many of the members will be participating in the 133rd running of Marblehead Race Week.

“Our Clemson Chase Race is important for our club as we want to encourage newer people and competitors to join in,” he said.

The Fast Mermaid team logo has become a symbol of support for sailor Lindsay Smith, a Marblehead native and daughter of Jud and Cindy Smith, who is recovering an assault last November. The Fast Mermaid Pursuit race was a fundraiser and a chance for the sailing community to show support for the family. COURTESY PHOTO/Bruce Durkee

The season has already seen the debut of a pursuit race called the Lindsay Smith Fast Mermaid Pursuit Race.

Featuring 36 boats, the June 5 event was a chance for the entire sailing community around Mass Bay and Rhode Island and farther afield to support Lindsay Smith.

The Fast Mermaid Pursuit race was a chance for the sailing community to turn out in big numbers to support Lindsay Smith in her ongoing recovery. Pictured here at center is Lindsay Smith surrounded by her family, friends and fellow sailors. COURTESY PHOTO/Bruce Durkee

Lindsay, daughter of Eastern Yacht Club members Jud and Cindy Smith and granddaughter of the late Bill and Beverlee Douglass, longtime members of the Boston Yacht Club, grew up sailing in Marblehead. She and three other young women raced Fast Mermaid at the Etchells Nationals in 2021, the only all-female crew in the event.

Lindsay was a victim of gun violence last November and is still recovering.

The Corinthian Yacht Club is looking forward to one of its favorite events, the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, presented by Doyle Sailmakers. The annual two-day regatta, set for Aug. 13 and 14, is one that spectators particularly enjoy because of the classic beauty of the boats that participate.

Just after the Corinthian Classic, the Eastern Yacht Club will be the host of the Ted Hood Storm Trysail regatta on Aug. 19-21.

The International Star Worlds 2022, hosted by the EYC, is set to begin on Sept. 12 and will bring up to 100 competitors from 18 countries for up to 10 days of racing. Marblehead sailors Jud Smith of the EYC and Tomas Hornos of the BYC will be competing.

World-class sailor Jud Smith, in pink, shown at the Fast Mermaid Pursuit race, will also be competing in the International Star Worlds. COURTESY PHOTO/Bruce Durkee

“The Eastern Yacht Club is honored and thrilled to be hosting this milestone event for the legendary Star class,” said Henry Brauer, commodore of the EYC.  “These competitors embody what we all aspire to as sailors:  excellence, camaraderie, and a deep respect for the history of yachting.”

The entry fees for the event have been reduced this year, “as our appreciation for all those who make this class a unique and special community on the water,” Brauer added.

There are many opportunities outside of the yacht clubs to learn racing and sailing skills as well. The goal of Captain James Ashton of Satori Sailing is to create access to Salem Sound and the sport of sailing through his classes and charter options.

Also, Carol Kent at Carol Kent International Yacht Charters, based in Marblehead, can help in chartering a yacht to watch key events or cruise in the region.

“I love the town of Marblehead, and I think that sailing is very much part of the fabric of this town,” said Marquette. “I think sailboat racing is synonymous with Marblehead. It is very dynamic, and it evolves. We have a lot of national and international champions who live here and are a real force in our sport.”

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