**EDIT: this race has been postponed to Saturday, July 11th, due to weather concerns. It will now be an out and back, depart Newport at 11am, sail to the buoy 25nm southwest of the tip of Long Island, and then head back to Newport.**
Looking forward to the first race of the season this Friday, July 10th! Here is the expected course: start out from Newport at 12pm, sail past Block Island to a buoy 25nm southwest of the tip of Long Island (~60nm). Then turn to port and sail over to a buoy west of Gay Head near Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Bay (~65nm) then sail back to Newport (~20nm). Easy, right? Well, not necessarily.
There are many navigation challenges to consider. Generally, one has to think about the combination of wind direction and current. The current can be a big issue in this course. When the current is filling Long Island sound, all of that volume of water has to enter by going around Block Island, which causes significant current. Sometimes you would sail a longer distance to avoid an adverse current. Additionally, when winds are light, the island can leave a wind shadow. So even if it is a shorter distance to sail west of the island, one might sail around the outside.
This year the forecasts suggest that there will be no lack of wind (a low pressure system is developing in the south that will hit Friday evening) so the wind shadow of the island is less of a concern. Also, the currents might be favorable to sail the shorter, more direct course. But it will all depend on what we are presented with on Friday.
In advance of the race I normally make three race “game” plans and laminate them. They are set up for the slightly different conditions that might occur. They become really important in the night hours when I am tired, as I can just look at them and execute.
This race can take anywhere from 18-40h. Based on the current forecast it’s looking like this will be on the shorter end of the range of times.
I will post to social media during the race and hope (depends on the severity of the weather) to write a few sentences to share. After the race I will provide some comments. Follow along with the boat tracker.