Dateline Newport RI: June 17, 2016— Racing in the 50th Thrash to the Onion Patch got underway right on schedule. It was a routine sequence with boats sailing close on the wind heading south to Bermuda. It was a flood tide, so only one boat was over early. Race historian John Rousmaniere said it was the most routine start he had ever seen.
Up until mid-week the race looked to be the second or third largest in history. Then the weather forecasts began predicting gales in and below the Gulf Stream. Following the weather briefing on Thursday night boats began withdrawing from the race. Finally 47 boats that had entered decided not to race. That brought the total from 184 on Monday to 142.
The 100-foot ‘Comanche’ took off in the last start, the Open Division, and drew a crowd of press boats at the beginning of her record-breaking attempt. The record of 39hr 39min 18sec was set by the 88-foot ‘Rambler’ in 2012.