The Blackburn Challenge


The standard race runs clockwise around Cape Anne, starting in the Annisquam River north of the railroad bridge and finishes on the beach near the Greasy Pole.

The above image illustrates the approximate course.

Blackburn Challenge Course Chart

Click on the above chart for a higher resolution version. This chart is not suitable for navigation. Please use for reference only - Transfer the waypoints to your own official chart.

 After the “Fog Event” of 2006, CARC created two other acceptable courses to increase the likelihood a race occurs given the number of entries and the distance they travel to do our race.  These alternate courses have been approved by the Coast Guard in the event of foul weather.  The Coast Guard and CARC want to stress the importance of safety and have agreed that CARC and/or the Coast Guard will modify races if absolutely necessary.  The courses are:

Blackburn Challenge Traditional Course:  As we all know and love… Circumnavigation of Cape Ann.  Starting line in Annisquam River.  Racers proceed right, point to point if they so chose.  At half way point (Straitsmouth) racers check in so that boat numbers can be recorded for safety. Proceed around Eastern Point and finish line is under the greasy pole in Gloucester Harbor. Boat numbers must be called out to the timing boat at the Greasy Pole.

North Course Alternate:  would be used in the extreme fog conditions of 2006 and/or a S/SE wind. Fog with visibility of less than 1 nautical mile or wind 25 kt/seas not more than 6ft.  This has racers starting at the original starting line in the Annisquam and the Gloucester Marina.  The race needs to be done within visibility of land (in fog), and chase boats will be located on the outside edge of the course. Racers will precede right. The turn around point for the race would be at Front Beach before Rockport Harbor.  The racers would retrace their steps back to the Annisquam and finish line is where the start was.  Take out is at the high school. Racers with GPS or Compass and a chart will be allowed to do this course.  We are making available charts with headings on it for use at the race.  At the end of the race return the charts to CARC for later use.

South Course Alternate:  is a plan for extreme North wind conditions.  Racers would be protected from the wind by the Cape.  Racers would need to proceed through the canal to the greasy pole.  This would be the starting line.  Racers would exit Gloucester Harbor and proceed left around the cape up to Straitsmouth and turn around to come back to the harbor.  If Straitsmouth was too rough we would turn around near Emerson Point. Chase boats would be concentrated along the course for adequate tracking.  The finish line would be the greasy pole.  Take out on the beach.

Should a racer pull out of the race it is their responsibility to notify race officials by phone.  This phone number is given at the pre-race briefing and the ham radio center holds the phone.  Racers need to have a whistle and life vest on board.