A new 24-hour sailboat race is coming to the Chesapeake Bay next month, in response to World Sailing’s announcement that a similar race will be added to the 2024 Olympic Games.
The Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) will hold its first Double-Handed Distance Race Saturday, September 28. It’s a competition for double-handed crews starting off the entrance to the Severn River and finishing 24 hours later at the yacht club’s dock on Spa Creek. The first boat to the finish line will receive the top prize.
The emphasis will be on endurance, with crews racing throughout the night. In a press release, sailing legend Gary Jobson, who is on the race’s event committee, says it will feature two divisions: one for mixed gender crews in J105s and a second division open to male or female teams in boats of 25 to 42 feet (using the Offshore Rating Council handicap rule to score the different size boats).
According to Jobson, two-time Olympic medalist and winning America’s Cup sailor Randy Smyth and Annapolis -based champion offshore sailor Dee Smith are among the early entrants. All entrants will have to take a Safety at Sea course, wear a life jacket throughout the race, along withtaking other safety precautions.
AYC says it will be among the first organizations to hold such a race, as the sailing world looks ahead to the Olympic mixed double-handed, long-distance competition that will begin with the 2024 Paris Games.
The new Olympic event will be a sharp contrast to the ten medals currently awarded in sailing, all of them for dinghies racing on short in-shore courses that last 20-30 minutes. In the new race, boats of about 30 to 32 feet will be provided to the competitors and the course will be about 500 miles long. World Sailing expects 18 to 20 countries to qualify for the medal race in 2024.
After Paris, there are also plans to host a long-distance double-handed race off the Southern California coast during the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
In the meantime, AYC’s Double-Handed Distance Race will be the one to watch. To find out more or enter the race, click here.