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Race Overview


2023 will be the 39th running of the 475 mile biennial Annapolis-Newport Race. However, the race has existed in various forms back to 1871, 1875, and 1879 when it went from Sandy Hook to Cape May with two to five entries each race. After a big time gap, it was raced again in 1927-33 and 1939 from New London, CT to Gibson Island, MD. In 1941, the race was from New London to Hampton, VA, and during the same year, a Newport-Annapolis race was promoted, but World War II intervened. The Annapolis-Newport race was officially established in 1947 to be on a continuing basis in alternate years with the Newport-Bermuda Race. Attached is a 1947 Baltimore Sun article on the race. Until the mid-50s, it was the Newport-Annapolis race, but after much complaining by the competitors about slow trips up the Chesapeake after a long ocean race, the course was reversed in 1957.

The course record was broken in 2017 by the Volvo 70 Warrior, skippered by Stephen Murray Jr.. Warrior completed the race in 40 hours, 14 minutes, 36 seconds, surpassing the previous record which had held for sixteen years. Joseph Dockery's Farr 60 Carrera, skippered by Chris Larson, set a course record in 2001 of 42 hours, 58 minutes, 12 seconds. Previously, George Collins' Santa Cruz 70, Chessie Racing, had set the record in 1999 at 47 hours and 45 minutes, which in turn had beaten a 12 year old record (53 hours and 31 minutes) of Starlight Express, a ULDB 70.

The Annapolis-Newport Race was run under the Cruising Club of America rating rule from 1947 to 1969. From 1971 until 1989 the International Offshore Rule (IOR) was used. In 1979 the Measurement Handicap System (MHS) was introduced and used along with the IOR. MHS became the International Measurement System (IMS) and the race had starts for both IOR and IMS until 1991 when the PHRF rule replaced the IOR rule. The PHRF rule was the only rule used in 2003 and continues to the present. Starts were added for boats racing under the IRC handicap in 2005 and a double-handed division was added in 2007 followed by ORC in 2019.

Some statistics:

  • Largest fleet: 1965 - 93 boats

  • Smallest fleet: 1955 - 27 boats

  • Fastest Race: 2017 - Warrior, Volvo 70 skippered by Stephen Murray Jr., 40 hours, 14 minutes, 36 seconds

  • Slowest race: 1955 - Niña, 59' staysail schooner, 92 hours, 20 minutes

  • Roughest year: 1967 - 34 of 91 starters withdrew, six being dis-masted.

  • Most frequent competitor: 21 races for E. Newbold Smith, starting in 1957 with Gailliard and continuing with his various Reindeers. Overall winner in 1961, first in class in 1961, 1963, 1995, second in class four times (1967, 1981, 1987, 1993), third in class three times (1989, 1999, 2001) and fourth in class twice (1965 and 1997).

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