By Steve Chalmers

2015 Round the Bay Race

Going nowhere fast.
Photo by Steve Chalmers

Sometimes the Buzzards Bay marine forecast is right on the money and sometimes it is not. On Saturday September 12, for the Quissett Yacht Club’s 63rd annual running of the Round the Bay Race it was unfortunately accurate. It called for a north wind shifting into the east.

The Race Committee could only trust the forecast and so set the the shortest course possible, 16 nautical miles, Centerboard Shoal buoy off Marion, then the Nye Ledge buoy off Mattapoisett, hoping the promised easterly would arrive in time to provide a beat to the finish.

The gentle northerly breeze at the noon start of the race, often described as a dying northerly, did indeed die out entirely about halfway through the start. Boats of different sizes race together on a handicap basis. The Round the Bay race is a pursuit race, with the boats starting in descending order of their handicaps. The faster boats then pursue them. For an early starter to do well it must make as much progress as possible before the faster boats start. That became very difficult as the wind dropped, leaving the early starters a short way from the start. That sort of start can try the crews’ souls. The forecast left out what happened next. A southwest breeze came in, reaching the later starters first, bunching the boats up and making a mockery of the handicaps. Finally what had been a beat became a run followed by a reach to Nye Ledge and then a brisk beat home.

It came very close to a case of the last becoming first. The eleventh starter won and the first starter finished second to last.

The Race Committee was astonished and gratified that all 14 boats appeared for the race, all the boats made the best of the miserable starting conditions, and all 14 boats finished, which happens rarely.

You may notice a Massachusetts Maritime Academy boat with an unusual name: Joululahja. It is pronounced Yo-you-lie-shah, which is Finnish for Christmas present. She was designed by a Finn, Jon Meri, and was given to Mass Maritime on Christmas Eve. The person who chose the name is permanently barred from naming boats.


Quissett Yacht Club 63rd Round the Bay Race
September 12, 2015 Course W, Marks G E, 16 nm

Boat Sail no. Skipper Rating Type of boat Yacht Club Finish time
1 1 R Ursus Maritimus 52834 Jim Masiero 33 J 122 BSRA 5:23:40
2 2 R Sterling 456 Mark Lindquist 90 J 105 Beverly 5:24:13
3 3 R Kindred Spirits 51102 Butch Joy 51 J 120 Mattapoisett 5:25:56
4 1 C Kinship 51333 Tom & Frank Selldorff 39 Baltic 52 New Bedford 5:29:44
5 4 R Gut Feeling 72 Ted Herlihy 66 J 109 New Bedford 5:30:40
6 5 R Spirit 35753 Mass Maritime 24 J 44 MMA 5:37:56
7 6 R Good Trade 96 Mass Maritime 90 J 105 MMA 5:41:51
8 7 R Water Wolf 227 Ed Lobo 90 J 105 Low Tide 5:42:31
9 8 R  1Q Lola 50316 Jon & Katy Burt 30 J 130 Quissett 5:42:42
10 9 R Ole Ole 60363 Richard Blatterman 90 Beneteau First Plymouth 5:42:56
11 2 C Scarlet 2323 Barry Feldman 24 Baltic 47 5:46:02
12 10 R Joululahja 42800 Mass Maritime 72 Jon Meri 48 MMA 5:47:10
13 11 R Shadowfax 221 Albert Williams 261 Holiday 30 Quissett 6:30:15
14 3 C Cade 12697 David Burt 198 Pearson 33 Quissett 6:30:38



Boston Yacht Club Trophy for the first boat to finish
Harbor Challenge Trophy for the first Quissett Yacht Club finisher
First three places in Racing and Cruising classes.
Racing class boats may use spinnakers.