The start will be near Halfway Rock and head west toward the shore, turning south just off Marblehead Neck before turning again at Tinkers Rock to set a course for Halifax, 363 nautical miles away. Best places for onshore viewing will be Chandler Hovey Park and Castle Rock, marked below on Marblehead neck.
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The racing fleet will include Ticonderoga, the classic 85’ L. Francis Herreshoff designed ketch; two sailboats from the U.S. Naval Academy sailing squadron. Gallant and Tenacious will be competing for the Academy Cup. 25% of the yachts registering for the 36th competition are newcomers to the Marblehead, MA to Halifax Ocean Race, and many boats compete in their class and special competitions such as Olin J. Stephens Trophy awarded for best combined performance in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race and the 2015 Marblehead-to-Halifax Race.
In all, close to 70 yachts will have staggered starts depending on class beginning at 1 pm. The course after the start of the race will be shown by red, yellow orange and green floating buoys. The only thing that would change this viewer friendly configuration would be unfavorable wind conditions, which are unlikely for this season of the year. The inshore starting area was successfully initiated in 2011, and will be used again this year.
The progress of the race can be tracked through the race tracker which is supported by GPS transponders on all of the yachts. Coverage of the start and other updates will be posted to this site, and on facebook and twitter. Video coverage of the start will be posted ASAP afterwards.
The race committee kindly requests that pleasure boaters be respectful of the starting course and stay behind the floating red marker buoys. There will be approximately 25 Spectator Patrol Boats, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Harbormasters from Salem and Marblehead as well as volunteers from the yacht clubs will patrol the starting area and each of the turn marks. Their boats will be flying yellow flags under the watchful eye of a Coast Guard Cutter assigned to oversee safety of the starting area.
Kindly avoid crossing the race path and avoid the middle zone altogether. Best safe boating practice would be to keep your speed slow and kindly respect the Spectator Patrol Boats with the yellow flags as well as all authorities such as the USCG, and Harbormasters. The Salem Ferry will also be altering its course so keep a watchful eye out for it.
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The starting area and each of the orange tetrahedron turning marks will be ringed with round red bouys. These areas are marked in yellow on the map above. All spectator boats should not enter these areas.
Each of the exclusion zones will be patrolled by race committee powerboats flying yellow flags. You will also see US Coast Guard Auxiliary on patrol - these are frequently civilian craft with USCG Auxiliary Insignia (see photo below). Please follow their instructions and stay well clear of the race boats.