by Chip Thayer
The Annapolis to Newport race started on Friday 3 June.
Annapolis to Newport Race logo
All of the First Out of the Bay winners have been decided except the Cruiser class and in that group AYC Commodore Torgerson and his crew aboard Dragon appear to be poised to win. Since the last update, Wharf Rat has taken the PHRF II trophy. She was followed by Integrity and Spirit. Bingo takes PHRF III, followed by Belle Aurore and Razor’s Edge.
The wind at the Bridge-Tunnel late this afternoon has been frustratingly light – 4 kts 'gusting' to 5 from the ENE. Twenty miles offshore at the Chesapeake Tower turning mark it’s only a little better – 8 kts from the NNW.
Meanwhile out in the ocean the fleet is demonstrating one of the things that makes this race so much fun to sail – decisions, decisions. The race presents so many tactical choices – one of them is with the wind ahead should we tack inshore or head further out to sea. Sometimes, when the wind is light, the race has been won by short tacking close to the coast to take advantage of thermals – on-shore during the day and from the shore at night. Other times it pays to head offshore to find some breeze. We shall see.
Two boats have retired – Donnybrook and now Downtime – IRC II.
The boats are moving!! All but two boats are out of the Bay. The lead boat, Rambler 100, is 65 nm from the finish. Is the course record going to be beaten? At 10 pm a weather buoy 30 nm south of mid Long Island was reporting 8 kts from the northwest. By 11 pm the same buoy was reporting 19 kts, gusting to 21 from the southeast. The three boats leading the fleet were quite a bit south of the buoy, but in that time period boat speed on Rambler went from 8 kts to 18 kts and she changed course by about 90 degrees. Her speed has gradually dropped to 10 kts at 0330. So will she break the course record? We still don’t know. It depends on her speed over the remaining 62 miles to the finish at Castle Hill Lighthouse. She needs to finish before 0858 today to do it.
The Annapolis to Newport race is one of the most historic and well-known of the US East Coast blue water races. Linking two seaports dating from our nation's birth, Annapolis and Newport, the race provides a contrast between the country's largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean. Such a challenge is the Chesapeake, that the 1997-1998 Whitbread Round the World Race for the Volvo Trophy added it to the course, as did the Volvo Ocean Race in 2002 and 2006.
The course heads south for 120 miles from Annapolis to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, then east to the Chesapeake Light and hence northeast to Newport.
Annapolis-Newport race website