A fleet of 73 elite boats crossed the starting line off Marblehead Harbor and set a 363-mile course to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The skies were fair and winds out of the southwest averaging 10 knots to start the 2017 biennial edition of the Marblehead-to-Halifax regatta which dates to 1905.
“The competitors were walking each other up to the starting line so I am predicting 363 miles of head to head competition,” said Anne Coulombe, of the Boston Yacht Club, co-director of the race.
Several large boats with impressive records are on the course. Among them Prospector this year’s winner of the 811-mile Miami to Montego Bay, Jamaica Pineapple Cup. The 68-foot yacht which carries a crew of 20 is based at the Shelter Island Yacht Club in New York.
Another is Ticonderoga a 72-foot wooden ketch out of Greenwich, CT designed by L. Francis Herreshoff. She is owned by Scott Frantz of the Riverside Yacht Club. At 80, her beauty is fabled for her sleek and graceful lines and her 86-foot main mast.
Ticonderoga at the start. Photo by Craig Davis
Hundreds of spectators gathered along the shoreline to watch the start. Onshore enthusiasts will be able to follow the boats as they head toward Halifax using the tracker.
The record for Halifax is 30 hours 46 minutes which means the fastest boats could reach there early Tuesday morning. It all depends on the wind.