Greg Alden called it “the ride of a lifetime, an epic trip and the most fun I’ve ever had on a sailboat.” The Arnold (MD) skipper was referring to the 2013 Down the Bay Race for the Virginia Cruising Cup, hosted by the Hampton Yacht Club with support from the Storm Trysail Club.
Alden and his crew aboard the TP52 Irie took advantage of absolutely perfect conditions to shatter the record for the historic overnight race, which began way back in 1934. Powered by 20-30 knot northwesterly winds, Irie completed the 120-nautical mile course in 7 hours, 2 minutes and 32 seconds. That blew away the previous mark of 11 hours, 9 minutes that had been established in 1974 by Running Tide, the Sparkman & Stephens 60-footer owned by Al Van Metre.
“I have a feeling that record is going to stand for a long time. It’s not often that you can sail on a reach in winds that strong for 120 miles,” said Alden, whose high-tech racing machine sailed under asymmetrical spinnaker from the start off Annapolis to the finish off Norfolk and recorded an average speed of 17 knots.
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