Fast start predicted for Marion Bermuda Race
By Colin Thompson in Marion, MassachusettsThis year’s Marion Bermuda Race fleet are bracing themselves for a potentially fast start to the 645-mile biennial race which gets underway Friday (1pm Bermuda time).
The weather predicted for the start is 20-25 knot north, north west winds with gusts up to 30 knots and a 90 percent chance of rain.
The fleet should enjoy a fast run out of Buzzards Bay and perhaps all the way down through the Gulf Stream with strong to moderate north, north west winds.
A weak patch in the centre of a high-pressure system will cross the course south of the stream and the wind should lighten, first from west of the direct course to Bermuda to the east later Sunday and Monday and back to north, north east. From there the fleet can expect 5-10 knot winds to the finish.
It’s predicted that this year’s Marion Bermuda Race will be mostly downwind or broad reach early before turning into a beat into Bermuda for the slower boats by midweek.
As always, the passage through the Gulf Stream will be pivotal.
“The Gulf Stream and eddies are not very favourable for the race,” said Gulf Stream expert Jenifer Clark. “But there are ways to minimise the foul flow and take advantage of the favourable flow.
“There is a clockwise circulating warm eddy West of rhumb (rhumbline) with favourable flow on eastern side and another warm eddy just East of rhumb (may be on the rhumb by Thursday) but it has foul flow on the western side.
“The stream is running in a stable pattern West to East but a knuckle could develop near the rhumb. South of the stream there are numerous cold eddies. One has foul flow right on the rhumb."
With the start of the 2013 Marion Bermuda Race just two days away, sailors at the Beverly Yacht Club (race co-hosts) in Marion have been busy completing their final registration process, obtaining their Yellow Brick trackers and keeping a close eye on the weather.
According to the race committee a total of 35 yachts will make it to the start line, among them local entries Spirit of Bermuda and Alice Kay.