An American racer has claimed the honour of being first over the finish line in this year's Steele Auto Group Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race 2015. "Spookie", a Carkeek HP 40 was the first boat across the line in Halifax at 18:34:25. "Spookie" is owned by Steve and Heidi Benjamin of Norwalk, Conn. Steve Benjamin was on board to enjoy the honour of being first boat across, after many years of racing this course. "I feel wonderful. Marblehead is one of my favourite races of all time!" he said at the dock in Halifax.
"Spookie" has a long list of wins including in 2014 the Vineyard Race, the Ida Lewis Long Distance Race and Quantum Key West. "This is a fast boat, especially downwind. The conditions suited "Spookie" which has a light displacement, a large sail area combined with a flat hull shape." Benjamin says the crew also made excellent decisions dealing with light air off Cape Sable and the currents. "The strongest wind the boat had to work with was right at the finish line."
"I am super happy to be here in the daylight. I think this crew is hungry and thirsty and we'll celebrate tonight." Despite the boat's superior performance, the boat is currently for sale. The businessman who is a consultant to North Sails has recently purchased a TP 52, another Carkeek design which he plans to sail in its first regatta in August.
The Marblehead fleet ran into light air conditions on Monday afternoon. Winds picked up at noon today (Tuesday). "Spookie" was in port approximately 5 hours ahead of the next group of boats expected overnight.
The first Canadian boat to finish is expected to be "Helm's Deep", owned by Mike Sutton of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.