The start was more like an “Oklahoma Land Rush” than a typical precise big boat race start. The Annapolis YC Race Committee added excitement by having the 40 faster boats (slower boats started day prior) start in a group instead of multiple divisions in a breezy spinnaker start with a mid-line Committee boat. Amid the chaos our Prospector starting helmsman Paul McDowell found clear air and launched the big white boat down the bay 125 miles to round the Chesapeake Light tower at dawn Sat. to begin the long 360 mile ocean leg to Newport. Saturday AM brought Prospector an upwind whisper of breeze that built into the 20’s thru Sat. PM and night with much slamming and spray with headwinds consistently in the hi 20’s. A heavy squall tore through the fleet behind us off the Delaware Coast Sat. PM with Class 40 yachts reporting more than 60 kts of breeze and incurring considerable damage. Drew Chapman’s Beneteau 44.7 Valkyrie (last year’s Courtesan Trophy winner) observed the squall on radar and astutely jibed to avoid the worst of the storm that dismasted the nearby J 122 Dolphin. They did, however, lose their wind instruments in the intense lightning storm requiring back to basics sailing without instruments for the race remainder-Valkyrie’s problems didn’t end there as they also struggled with a flooded forepeak that hampered their progress.
Early Mon. AM in a dying breeze Prospector finished off Newport’s Castle Hill while her slower competitor’s caught up on a new strong southerly breeze which largely erased our hard earned advantage-Valkyrie finished later Mon. afternoon. This race is the last test for Prospector before the Transatlantic Race start from Newport on July 1 and the crew is delighted with the yacht’s performance and durability in challenging conditions. Commodore Pribor served as crew boss of Prospector and Larry navigated expertly. Andrew Wolf served numerous rolls including grinder while Paul and Brendan performed Watch Captain duties. Next stop-Cowes!