News & Events


2024 MRA Registration Announcement
April 9, 2024

April 9, 2024

Dear Marblehead One Design Racers,

I'd like to welcome you to the start of the 2024 sailing season and to address the changes the MRA board are implementing for this season that are based, in large part, as the result of the majority of the responses from the MRA sailors survey distributed by Jack Cochrane and feedback from the town hall meeting back on December 12th. I'd like to thank Jack Cochrane for putting together these surveys and compiling the results. I'd also like to thank Dan Himes, Corinthian YC RC Chair, who led a task force comprised of race officers, Susie Schneider, Mike Michaud, Ken Adam, and Mark Toso, as well as board members Jack Cochrane, Jason Maher, and Fran Charles for turning these concepts into a structured racing format. I'd like to also thank all our MRA board members that have contributed to debating and refining, in this off season. the concepts we are introducing this season.

One of these changes is a 30 minute later start time, 1:00 pm, for both race areas. That matches the first warning signal time used for decades back in the rocking 60's, 70's and 80's when weekend club racing was flourishing. This traditional 1pm start time allows more time for the wind to settle in for the race committee to set quality courses and take advantage of the best wind conditions to be expected on most summer days. Let's not forget that many days the start time was postponed on the water to wait for suitable wind conditions to set a course. There's no point fighting mother nature. It also helps free up Saturday morning family time for competitors and volunteers which will encourage more participation on Saturday afternoons.

Those fleets that preferred the earlier start time can still use that valuable 30 minutes for pre-race tune up lap prior to the start. To put it in perspective, Sandy Bay Yacht Club in Rockport start their club races at 2 pm and still wrap it up by 4:30 at the latest. With later start time in mind the RO's are going to be utilizing 'target race times' to manage course lengths to get back to the bar with plenty of time. The target times will be closely monitored and evaluated in RC debriefing after each race day.

Another significant change is that MRA has now updated the course configuration options in 'Addendum B'. For example, the previously named course 'C' is now called Course 'W4', which is now in line with the rest of the world, thereby making it simpler for visiting racers to acclimate to our local racing. I'd like to thank my daughter, Lindsay Smith, for updated course configuration and race area graphics. Remember to sign up for the Fast Mermaid Pursuit race Sunday June 23rd which was the most well attended race in all of last season with 54 boats. This season EYC is running the Fast Mermaid pursuit race and let's show those big boat guys who the best sailors are. The race committees will be implementing the use of two robotic 'Mark Bots' to remotely square the start and finish line for wind shifts as these devices become available. The mark bot colors will remain the same color as the existing green start and finish tetrahedrons. The clubs intend to gradually introduce more mark bots as club capital investment budgets allow next season. Our intention is to get accustomed to using them beginning memorial weekend.

This year the MRA has added' to Notice of Race 10.3, a significant change to prohibit penalty turns taken between the windward and offset mark so as to avoid collisions. This includes a penalty, a turn taken for hitting a mark (RRS 31) or penalty turns for breaches of Part 2 RRS while in the zone of mark 1 or 1a shall be taken as soon as possible on the downwind leg. This changes RSS 44.2.

We are introducing the vertical offset optional courses at the windward mark, which you will find illustrated in the second row of the course diagrams of Addendum B, titled 'V' courses. RO's have the option to utilize the 'V' courses in larger fleets or on shorter courses in order to minimize congestion at the windward mark.

MRA has introduced additional race areas available to the race committee as seen in 'Addendum A' race areas chart. The committee may choose to utilize these other race course areas due to weather conditions, be it wind, waves, or visibility issues. The Bowditch area would be one of those race areas most likely utilized as a substitute for the South line should the conditions warrant a move inshore to more protected waters.

The race committee will utilize WhatsApp for announcements as another way of communicating with competitors, which includes VHF and emails, but Club Spot will still remain the official notice board. WhatsApp QR codes will be made available this spring to enable you to join the WhatsApp group..

Like most everything the past two years, MRA entry fees have been raised this season in order to balance the budget. Part of that increase was a modest increase in race week entry fee which is still the marquee event of the season. In an effort to cap rising costs last season MRA ran a deficit but we can't maintain that trajectory. MRA had 88 boats registered last season and we budgeted for that same size fleet this year. The goal is to keep costs as low as possible and still maintain a high level of racing year over year and to encourage more boats to join MRA. I would like to thank Judy Adam, MRA treasurer, for ensuring that we maintain a balanced budget and for her continued support and guidance in planning for the 2024 season.

As Chairman of MRA, I became aware of how significant our hosting clubs race committee budgets really are. The reality is the clubs continue to shoulder the vast majority of the costs involved in keeping weekend club racing in Marblehead affordable. MRA racers are getting a great deal for weekend club racing that includes Helly Hansen Sailing World Race Week which will be hosted by EYC this year and for which I am the chairman. That being said, the board twisted my arm for an early bird discount available for those who register prior to May 7th.

We are pleased to announce that Sinan Kunt once again volunteered to be in charge of scheduling and scoring for MRA utilizing Club Spot. We thank Sinan for his continued efforts in assisting MRA and the Eastern Race Committee.

Registration for the 2024 season is now open, Please take a moment to register here (

Sail Fast and I look forward to seeing you all at the MRA 'Sail 24 party' at CYC on May 3rd.

- Jud Smith