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Earl Delays Vineyard Race

Even before Hurricane Earl arrives, its impact has hit the Stamford Yacht Club's 76th annual Vineyard Race. The start of the race, originally scheduled for Friday afternoon, has been pushed back to Saturday at 10 a.m.

"We feel the worst of the winds will be out of Long Island Sound by then,'' co-chairman Diane McKeever said. "We may make more modifications based on the track of the hurricane."

There are three separate races to the Vineyard. The Marquee race is a 238-mile course to Buzzards Bay and back. The Seaflower race is 142 miles and the Cornfield Point track is 116 miles. Eighty-five boats are registered, but McKeever expects some to drop out because of the shift in dates. The event includes a post-race celebration that has been pushed from Sunday to Monday.

McKeever said "there were 85 boats registered and 90 opinions on what we should do" regarding the start. She believes in the interest of the safety of the sailors, the board's decision to delay the race is sound. The race's governing board is leaving its options open because, McKeever says, once Earl blows away, conditions might be too calm. "A hurricane could leave no wind behind it,'' she says. "There is no good way about this."

This year's weather conditions are a reversal from last year. The 238-mile race was canceled because of a lack of wind for the first time in 75 years. "I've been heavily involved in the last two years and we've had these bizarre conditions,'' Diane says. "It can't happen three years in a row."

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