The skipper of the first Canadian boat to ever win the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race (MHOR) is returning to compete in next month’s race. Will Apold of Halifax and his 2011 crew on Valkyrie won first place in the IRC division with a corrected time of 45:22:11. But Apold isn’t going to try to repeat that exact victory. He is chartering a Class 40 Dragon Glass/Oakcliff from Oakcliff Sailing in Oyster Bay, New York.
Photo Left: Valkyrie skipper Will Apold
“I have never sailed these boats before and it will be my first time in this style of racing as I will be entering as a double-handed crew with a sailing friend from Annapolis, Dave Flynn who has been supplying me sails for boats over the years.”
Apold has been involved in MHOR since 1995. “It is a great race which involves camaraderie with a lot of friends you don’t see every day. They share lots of sailing adventures. It’s fun that way, to hear a lot of yarns.”
Apold has a long racing record including Caribbean races, several trans-Atlantic events as well as many in Europe, where Valkyrie is now located. But MHOR is top of his list of favourites. “I like the fact that we are racing home. That makes it quite special with family and friends waiting for us. You don’t get that support when you are racing from one unfamiliar port to another.”
He recruited an all-Nova Scotian crew for Valkyrie in 2011. That made for a special thrill during the race to the finish line in Halifax harbour when the vessel was clocking as high as 23.9 kts. “The spinnaker was up and everyone was on the rail. We were flying to McNab’s Island in the dark, blinded to some extent by the lights of Halifax – it was pretty exciting!”
Apold and Flynn will get familiar with this year’s boat in a shakedown sail from New York to Boston. “Everyone wants to win. We will put together a program that works and sail the boat as fast as we can. If we get favourable conditions, we can see ourselves in the winner’s circle.”
Oakcliff Sailing is a non-profit organization based in Oyster Bay on Long Island. Its programs teach young people all aspects of professional sailing. “Oakcliff trains inshore, high performance and offshore sailors in very real-world and intense environments,” says executive director Dawn Riley. “There are a handful of races that we can enter teams of 15-30 year olds and test their mettle. Halifax is one of them.” The organization will have two other entries in the race – Farr 40 Blue and Farr 40 Black.
“While staff and alumni do the hard work of coaching and organizing, we couldn’t do any of it without benefactors. Those like Will Apold are doubly beneficial as he is supporting our efforts as well as helping to actually train our sailors,” says an appreciative Riley.
Apold is pleased to be associated with Oakcliff’s program. “It is a very positive thing for me to know the fee will be going to support the development of young sailors.”
“Will’s support of our sport is second to none. He is a great competitor and “gives back” on so many fronts. His example is a template for us all,” says Race co-chair, David Stanfield of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.
Apold is dedicating his race this year to the memory of a college friend who passed away this winter – Dr. Doug Anderson, a dentist who practiced in Halifax.
The 2015 Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race will start off Marblehead, Mass. on Sunday, July 5th. The race is co-sponsored by the Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.