Interest and enthusiasm for the inaugural Spring Race to Oxford has been building. Further momentum for the new event was created recently when a powerhouse sponsor was brought onboard.
Annapolis Yacht Club is proud to announce that Hinckley Yachts will serve as presenting sponsor for the Spring Race to Oxford, which is being held on Saturday, May 12. Hinckley is one of the most respected brands in the boating industry, having built some of the most iconic vessels on the water.
As part of its sponsorship, Hinckley will donate a beautiful overall trophy, a special giveaway item, and provide a race committee boat to assist with the start. Also, Hinckley’s support of this event allows AYC to waive the entry fee for competitors provided registration is completed by April 30.
“I think it’s absolutely phenomenal to have Hinckley as sponsor of this event. We are thrilled to be partnering with such a legendary company,” said Robert Shapiro, chairman of the Spring Race to Oxford. “Hinckley understands its place in the history of sailboat racing. Stepping up to sponsor this race is a strong statement that Hinckley supports the sport. It is also a great opportunity for Hinckley to market directly to potential clients.”
Hinckley has a strong presence on the Chesapeake Bay with a sales office in Annapolis, an active boatyard in Oxford, and a storage facility in Easton. Jack Erbes, Senior Sales Director for The Hinckley Company, did not hesitate when approached by Annapolis Yacht Club about sponsoring the Race to Oxford.
“It’s pretty simple: the name Hinckley is synonymous with sailing and this is a great way to reinforce that,” Erbes said. “Some people think Hinckley has gotten out of the sailboat business, which could not be further from the truth. We want people to know that we’re still supportive of sailing. Our leadership is fully committed to being part of the sailing industry.”
Hinckley currently builds such renowned racer-cruiser sailboats as the Southwester 42 and Bermuda 50 and recently re-emphasized its commitment to sailing yachts by introducing the newly-designed Southwester 53. Hinckley also owns the entire line of Morris yachts and builds those at its manufacturing facility in Trenton, Maine.
Numerous Hinckley models have enjoyed tremendous success in various events organized by Annapolis Yacht Club over the years. Several of the famous Bermuda 40-footers launched by Hinckley have captured class honors in the biennial Annapolis-to-Newport Race.
“We are very committed to being part of the Annapolis community. We want to be responsible stewards of both adult and youth sailing,” Erbes said. “We feel sponsoring events like this are important for the industry and important for the brand. We also want to support great events and great yacht clubs. Sponsoring the AYC Spring Race to Oxford is a natural fit for Hinckley.”
Shapiro, who was named event chairman in February, is the proud owner of a 1972 era Hinckley Pilot 35 named Susie and has entered her in the Spring Race to Oxford. Shapiro’s newly-purchased boat is among numerous early entries that indicate the race, which was announced in November 2017, has sparked interest within the local sailing community.
“I think the AYC Sailing Committee was very wise in working to bring traditional point-to-point racing back in vogue on the Chesapeake Bay,” Shapiro said. “We are confident this is going to be a great event and are expecting a very strong turnout. Early spring is an ideal time for racing on the bay because the possibility for good breeze is so much greater.”
Annapolis Yacht Club is co-hosting the Spring Race to Oxford with Tred Avon Yacht Club, which will provide race committee personnel to assist with recording finishes and provide first-class hospitality at its facility. Doug Abbott, rear commodore for TAYC, said the membership is looking forward to welcoming the fleet.
“We will have music on the docks when boats come in and plenty of dock space to accommodate a large fleet,” Abbott said. “We always enjoy having sailors visit from Annapolis and many of our own members are excited about doing this new race as well.”
Abbott will be skippering a historic sailboat in the race – a Cal 40 named Flyer that was launched in 1962 and has an impressive pedigree. He is using the Spring Race to Oxford as a tune-up for the Newport-to-Bermuda Race, as are many other owners.
Hot Tub Limo, a popular band on the Eastern Shore, has already been booked to provide entertainment at the post-race party and awards ceremony being held at the TAYC clubhouse. TAYC will have food and bar service available for competitors and their guests.
“We have determined through surveys and normal feedback that a point-to-point race to a great destination with a pre-published and fixed course followed by a robust party is what the sailors want,” said Dick Neville, a member of the AYC Sailing Committee. “We have received considerable positive feedback about this new Spring Race to Oxford and anticipate a healthy fleet. Personally, I think this event is going to become quite popular and an annual staple of the Chesapeake Bay racing scene.”
To enter the Spring Race to Oxford, visit annapolisyc.com/racing/regattas