Vineyard Race gets off to a good start

ramblerSeventy six boats crossed the starting line off Stamford today in the 75th running of the Vineyard Race.

With light winds forecast for the weekend the Vineyard Race Committee decided to use a shortened course to ensure boats would finish in a timely manner. The 65 boats racing the Vineyard course will now stay within Long Island Sound for a total of 143 nautical miles instead of the traditional 238 miles out to Buzzards Bay and back.

“We debated this for a long time,” said Race co-chairman Charles Goodrich. “We also talked to a lot of the racers. It was decided that with light winds forecasted it would be prudent to send boats on the shorter course.”

The option for a shorter course for the Vineyard boats was added after the 2006 race in which only three boats finished due to heavy weather. The shorter course gives the race committee the option to keep boats in Long Island Sound due to weather or safety considerations.

The 11 boats sailing the Cornfield Point race will sail the standard course this weekend which is 116 nautical miles.

At today’s start, off Bell 32 near the entrance to Stamford Harbor, winds ranged from 6 to 9 knots from the southeast. “It was a near perfect start,” Goodrich said. “It should be a good, competitive race.”

The fleet, starting at 10-minute intervals, headed east with an outgoing tide. However, according to all forecasts the wind is supposed to be between 3 and 8 knots for much of the weekend.

The starts for this year’s race was moved up several hours to give racers a chance to get back earlier and spend time with their families. The race culminates Sunday night with an arrival party and awards ceremony on the lawn of Stamford Yacht Club.

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