AYC’s Long Distance Doublehanded Race

New 24-Hour Doublehanded Adventure

The Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) announces a new 24-hour race for doublehanded crews to start on Saturday, September 28 off the entrance to the Severn River. In response to the announcement by World Sailing, the international governing body of the sport, that the Olympic Games will host a mixed doublehanded, long-distance competition beginning with the 2024 Paris Games, AYC is among the first sailing organizations to create this new event.

Laurent Givry, who was the first doublehanded entry to ever cross the finish first at the Annapolis Newport Race, has entered the AYC Doublehanded Distance Race on his Beneteau Figaro 3 La Defonce. Photo by Al Schreitmueller

The race course will be spread throughout the Chesapeake Bay with a finish line off the yacht club’s dock on Spa Creek. The race is scheduled to last 24 hours; the first boat to the finish line will receive the top prize. The race will be an endurance contest for the crews as they race throughout the night hours. Keeping the boat sailing fast, monitoring weather forecasts, careful navigation, precision boat handling, and physical stamina are a few of the attributes the crews will need to excel in this challenging contest.

The vision for the Olympic Games in 2024 is to feature a race of around 500 miles in a boat of about 30 to 32 feet in overall length. World Sailing is committed to gender equity in the sport and is encouraged by the tremendous interest throughout the world to compete for an Olympic medal. Currently, there are 10 medals awarded in sailing. All classes feature doublehanded or singlehanded dinghies racing on short in-shore courses that last 20-30 minutes.

The new Olympic event will be unique in the Games, and the boats will be provided to competitors. Early comments by World Sailing suggest that 18-20 countries will qualify for the medal race in 2024. Los Angeles 2028 also intends on hosting a long-distance doublehanded race off the Southern California coast during the Olympics.

With GPS-based tracking and easy communications with the competitors, racing enthusiasts will be able to follow AYC competitors throughout the race on the internet.

J/105s, shown here fully crewed during the Annapolis NOOD Regatta, will be sailed in a doublehanded mixed gender division. Photo by Al Schreitmueller

The AYC event will feature two divisions: one for mixed gender crews in J/105s 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.

Among the early entrants is two-time Olympic medalist and winning America’s Cup sailor, Randy Smyth, and champion offshore sailor from Annapolis, Dee Smith. Both sailors say they were attracted to compete in this race because it is a new concept with so many unknowns. Sailors will be tested in boats not usually sailed doublehanded around long-distance courses compared with the more usual windward-leeward courses. In addition, Smyth is looking forward racing with his friend, Christina Parrson.

Safety is a high priority for race organizers and competitors. Among the requirements for entry, the sailors will take a Safety at Sea course, wear a flotation device throughout the race, be able to communicate with race officials during the race, operate tracking equipment, and carry appropriate safety gear.

Sailing has been in the Olympic Games since the modern Games were started in 1896. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked all sports federations, including World Sailing, to review each medal event. The IOC’s goal is to encourage innovation in sports. In 2024 World Sailing will include a kite board division and will achieve gender equity in the number of competitors and the number of medals presented. The International 470 Class and the Nacra 17 class will also feature mixed gender crews, and the kite boards will have a mixed gender format in addition to the long-distance doublehanded race.

To enter the AYC Doublehanded Distance Race, visit this link

For more reach out to Linda Ambrose, AYC Regatta Manager: [email protected]