Safe Harbor Race Weekend 2021
Published by Scuttlebutt on August 15th, 2021
The inaugural Safe Harbor Race Weekend, held August 13-15 in Newport, R.I., is now in the history books and has made an indelible mark in the log books of 46 sailing teams from around New England and across the country who competed in it.
A Superyacht class sailed the first two days on Rhode Island Sound while another six classes for ORC, PHRF (A, B and C), and Performance Cruising (Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker) extended their racing into a third day, sailing mostly on upper Narragansett Bay where boats could easily convene after departing each morning from the event’s three host marinas: Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, Safe Harbor New England Boatworks, and Safe Harbor Jamestown Boatyard.
“It was a good show of boats,” said Jim Madden, skipper of the Carkeek 47 Stark Raving Mad IX, which clinched victory in its ORC Class and was named Overall Winner at the event, “so we never took anything for granted.”
Madden explained that after finishing 1-2-1 in a decent sea breeze of 8-12 knots on August 13, the next day was a different story. A race around Jamestown (Conanicut Island) began downwind in a five-knot southerly near Rose Island, and when teams struggled to keep spinnakers flying as they sailed north under the Pell Bridge, the Race Committee shortened course at the north end of Jamestown, only a quarter of the way into what otherwise would have been a scenic and much-anticipated 18-mile navigator’s race.
“It was a short and highly challenging race,” said Madden, adding that his team finished last. “We knew we had to be on our game (for the last day).” The setback gave them only a one-point lead over Donald Nicholson’s J/121 Apollo going into the final two races on August 15.
Well-versed in perseverance, however, the Stark Raving Mad IX team finished 2-1 in a dying 9-10 knot northerly on the final day to win, posting what translated into an impressive lead of 7.5 points over second-place finisher Entropy, a Swan 42 skippered by Patricia Young. (Apollo fell to third overall after finishing 4-7 to Entropy’s 3-2.).
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