Marblehead-Halifax Ocean Race (MHOR)

MHOR is a 360 nm ISAF Category 2 destination race from Marblehead, MA to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I first did this race on Chariad in 2005 then on Nirvana in 2007. It's hosted by Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and run on odd years only. This was Jeroboam's first entry in the race but it wasn't the first time she's been to Halifax as in the summer of 2006, I cruised through Maine, the Bay of Fundy and the southern half of Nova Scotia solo. There were some minor prep items to deal with on this race that differed from Bermuda 1-2 but basically she was ready to go except for provisioning and fixing stuff that broke on the last race. Once again, Zoe agreed to crew with me in the double handed division and off we went.

The race course (click on picture for larger sized image):

Click here to see Jeroboam's track.

With the exception of the start and the first couple hours, this was a light air race; a real test for Jeroboam as she is a heavy cruising boat. I removed as much weight as possible this season but Jeroboam's ability to keep up with other boats in light air is still a weakness. Additionally, I think my personal abilities to keep a boat, any boat, moving efficiently in light air needs improvement. That said, we came up with plenty of ideas and plans during the race to try to use the light air and subtle shifts to our advantage but something always happened just as we were really getting into the plan: the wind died. You never actually devise a plan on the race course where one of the items includes "...and then wind dies and we..." so we were always left wanting.

I knew going into the race it was to be a long one given the forecast and we prepared ourselves mentally but the frustration of just bobbing around in the ocean with no wind and nothing we could do about it got a little old after a while. As noon on Thursday rolled around, we wondered if the race committee planned to extend the finish deadline and sure enough, the sat phone call to BYC told of a 48 hour extension. Eventually, we staggered across the finish line to find that 6 of the 10 boats in our class retired from the race and that we'd won on corrected time and placed second on elapsed time with the double handed Beneteau 381 Cello finishing just ahead of us. In the PHRF double handed division, we placed third on corrected time after the J-105 Jaded and a Class 40 named Amhas.

Frankly I thought it was a poorly run race and don't have any desire to enter it again but with so few distance races accepting PHRF ratings as high as Jeroboam's I may not have a choice. Doing it on someone else's boat is always an option. Or just get a faster boat and enter better races.

Click here for some photos and video from the race