More than 80 racing sailboats ranging in length from 22 to 45 feet are expected to rendezvous this morning off the mouth of Middle River for the beginning of the fourth annual Northern Bay Race Week, one of the premier sailing events held in the Baltimore region each year.
The regatta hosts are Columbia Sailing Association, Glenmar Sailing Association and Havre de Grace Yacht Club.
The regatta will consist of three races, one each day through Sunday starting about 11:30 a.m., for four PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) divisions and a J/24 one-design class, on Olympic triangle or windward-leeward courses around drop marks in the area between Middle River, Poole's Island, and Miller-Hart Island.
"It's going to be an exciting event," said race committee chairman Larry Martin, manager of Skelley Sails' Middle River loft and a respected and successful racer in many classes of offshore and one-design boats. "It's the largest turnout we've ever had for this event, and I expect it to be really competitive."
Following today's and Saturday's racing, the sailors and their friends and families will meet at regatta headquarters at the Bowleys Quarters Volunteer Fire Hall/Long Beach Marina at Bowleys Quarters Road and Susquehanna Road for nightly parties and trophy presentations. Sunday's awards will be presented informally at the Corner Inn at 1528 Old Eastern Ave. ** at the corner of Back River Neck Road.
The regatta evolved from a semi-formal arrangement among the three host clubs in which the fleet raced from one club to another during the weekend. Two years ago it was centralized to a single location, with drop-mark courses more easily adaptable to specific wind conditions to help attract top sailors from beyond the immediate region as well as encourage locals to take part in an exciting, challenging, and fun event.