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Labor Day Weekend racing and a glance at the Globe40

by David Schmidt 30 Aug 08:00 PDT August 30, 2022
Desna in the 2020 Stamford Vineyard Race © Rick Bannerot /

As Labor Day Weekend approaches, many sailors have plans to get out on the water with friends, family, and their favorite competition. We at Sail-World cannot think of a better way to celebrate the long weekend than to hoist sail and get in some great racing, especially as evening's noticeably earlier arrival provides a daily reminder to get in as much sailing as possible before the inevitable occurs.

In New England, the Stamford Yacht Club's annual Vineyard Race begins on Friday afternoon at 1200 hours, local time, off of The Cows. The full, 238-nautical mile Vineyard Course runs the length of Long Island Sound, out to the Buzzard's Bay Light Tower and around Block Island (passing both to starboard), before returning past The Cows (again, to starboard) to the finishing line.

The Vineyard Race also offers two shorter courses, the Cornfield Point Course (116 nautical miles) and the Seaflower Reef Course (143 nautical miles), which are great options for sailors who are interested in staying in more sheltered waters.

While the Vineyard Race ranks as a regional classic, sailors living in other parts of the country also have plenty of opportunity to get out racing this weekend.

A quick glance at the national racing radar (I joke) reveals, amongst many other great regattas, the Hawaii Yacht Club's Mesick Long Distance Race, the Davis Island Yacht Club's Labor Day Night Race, the Sarasota Sailing Squadron's 74th Annual Labor Day Regatta, the Buzzards Bay Yacht Club's Labor Day Series, and the South Lake Tahoe Windjammers Yacht Club's Commodore's Cup.

With luck, you are already registered for a Labor Day regatta, but if not, there's likely still time to correct course.

Odds are virtually 100% that you'll be glad you did come February.

One group of sailors who are at no risk of not getting enough offshore miles this year are the 14 skippers and co-skippers who are engaged in the Globe40, which is a circumnavigation stage race that's contested aboard Class 40 monohulls. The race began in Tangier, Morocco, on June 26, 2022, and will visit seven ports of call before finishing off of Lorient, France.

American and Canadian interests are (impressively) being represented by three out of the seven competing teams. These include Melodie Schaffer & Jeronimo Gonzalez, sailing aboard the Canadian-flagged Whiskey Jack, as well as Craig Horsfield & Oliver Bond, sailing aboard the American-flagged Amhas, and Joe Harris & Roger Junet, sailing aboard the American-flagged Gryphon Solo II.

After 7,667 nautical miles of racing, Horsfield & Bond claimed the Leg Two win, which stretched from Cape Verde, around the Cape of Good Hope to Mauritius. (N.B. Leg One took crews from Tanger to Cape Verde earlier this summer.)

"It was a long old trip to get to this stage, longer than we'd banked on before the start," said Horsfield & Bond in an official Globe40 communication. "We broke this hefty leg down into four chunks. Prior to setting sail, the leg seemed so daunting that we decided we had to deal with it one section at a time.

"The first two-day chunk of the race was a short and fast passage through the Cape Verde archipelago," they continued. "It was very enjoyable with some excellent sessions slipping along at pace. Over the second section, the South Atlantic and the Saint Helena High, an in-depth analysis of the strategy was necessary to negotiate this tricky passage.

"The third chunk, which took us around the tip of South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, was physically tough as we encountered a difficult sea state and very cold temperatures at times," said Horsfield & Bond. "The final section in the Indian Ocean was very arduous too. We had thought that it was going to be the easiest part of the leg, but it was actually the toughest of them all."

Sailors racing in the Globe40 have some rest and recuperation time in Mauritius until the September 11 start of the third leg, which will take them from Mauritius to Auckland, New Zealand.

Sail-World wishes all skippers and co-skippers who are participating in the Globe40 fair winds and following seas as they wend their way around our lonely planet, and we send our best wishes for great sailing to everyone who is racing over Labor Day Weekend.

May the four winds blow you safely home,

David Schmidt North American Editor

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