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Whitebread sailboat race canceled due to forecast of ‘dangerous conditions’


The 22nd annual Whitebread regatta has been canceled ahead of potentially dangerous sea conditions Saturday — which are partially due to Hurricane Joaquin’s influence. 

In a post on the Whitebread website, organizers announced they are canceling Saturday’s race altogether for the first time in the regatta’s 22-year history because of safety concerns.

It cannot be rescheduled, they wrote, since other regional races already have reservations for future weekends and venues are unavailable for a post-race party.

“The primary factor driving the decision regarding the running of the race must be the safety of all participants,” the post stated. “While we share in your disappointment, we are sure that you will agree that the safety of our skippers, crew, race committee and equipment must be given the highest priority.”

Although Hurricane Joaquin is not currently predicted to hit Long Island, the weekend’s forecast still includes choppy waters and strong winds.

“There are real possibilities of very dangerous situations developing,” the Whitebread committee wrote in their post. “The Whitebread is not equipped to provide rescue vessels along the course and thus it is quite likely there will be no boat available to assist distressed vessels and their crews.”

No refunds will be available for those registered to participate. A list of entrants on the race’s website showed close to 100 boats.

“While we would like to say that we are in control of a race, we cannot control Mother Nature,” the committee wrote. “The majority of costs related to the event are committed to date. As such, we are not able to offer you a refund.”

Last year, a 28-foot sailboat sank while participating in the Whitebread race because of rough conditions on the water. The four crew-members were not harmed, and they were saved from the water by fellow racers that quit the competition to help.

The announcement stressed that Saturday’s post-race party will continue as planned — albeit without a race beforehand — at the Cutchogue Harbor Marina beginning at 5 p.m.

Next year’s Whitebread race is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8, 2016.

Photo Credit: At last year’s race, the sailboat Optimistic sank and the crew-members had to be rescued. (Credit: Richard Labella)

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