Hamilton, Bermuda, June 21, 2012 – ‘Lilla’, the big red Briand 76 (IRL7600) owned by Simon and Nancy De Pietro of Cork, Ireland and Mattapoisett MA, sailed a fast straight-forward Newport Bermuda Race and won Class 13 in the Cruiser Division. ‘Lilla’ also took first place in the whole Cruiser Division and will be presented with the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy for first place.
‘Lilla’ led classmate ‘True’, a J-160 owned by Howard Hodgson of Ipswich MA by 1 hr 17 min on corrected time for the win in class and division. ‘True’ was second in both Class 13 and the division. Third place in the Cruiser division went to ‘Odyssey’ a Swan 55 sailed by Glenn Dexter from Halifax NS.
And there is Icing on the cake for ‘Lilla’. In 2011 she raced in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and set the 645-mile course record from Marion MA to Bermuda at 68:58:45. That performance last year and her top finish in the Newport Bermuda Race earn her the Bermuda Ocean Cruising Yacht Trophy presented by SAIL Magazine. This special combined competition trophy goes to the captain who has the best performance in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races. ‘Lilla’ sailed from Newport this time— a 10-mile shorter course in 63:17:13, some 5 hours and 41 minutes faster.
“The only problem we had,” said navigator Nancy De Pietro, “was getting water to the forward head and shower. The water tank we were using was aft, on the port side [That was the high side on the long port tack all the way down from Newport] and the pump had trouble because it was sucking air up there.”
“The one great thing about sailing on this type of boat is that we get to shower after coming off of every watch,” said Simon De Pietro with a smile.
Not having water for showers would have been a crisis for this cruiser crew… all good friends and family. It was an international crew with sailors from Ireland, the Dutch West Indies, England, Canada, South Africa and the USA. ‘Lilla’ has a comfortable 3-cabin layout and is used for charter as well as offshore racing.
In addition to doing the Bermuda Races, she has also done the Caribbean 600. She is an aluminum yacht with just 8.5-foot draft. She does not go to weather well but on a reach her waterline works and she is good and fast. The De Pietros thought of entering the St. David’s Lighthouse Division but needed to be able to use the power winches.
‘True’ a 53 foot J-160— also in Class 13— finished an hour behind ‘Lilla’ Her navigator Richard Casner of Dedham MA said, “The conditions were perfect for ‘True’ we had entered as a non-spinnaker boat and we think that paid off. We were right next to the Swan 60 ‘Lady B’ when she set a chute and we were able to walk away from her. The double headsail rig we used was just right for this boat in this race.”
The Newport Bermuda Race had 6 divisions and 17 classes. The Cruiser division had 30 entries. More than 100 prizes will be awarded Saturday evening on the lawn of Bermuda’s Government House. His Excellency Mr. George Fergusson the Governor of Bermuda will present the prizes along with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore John Brewin and the Cruising Club of America Commodore Dan Dyer.
Going into Monday evening, LLwyd Ecclestone’s ‘Kodiak’ crew was hopeful of winning the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, the most coveted of the three main Newport Bermuda Trophies awarded to the corrected time winner of the large amateur division. Then came ‘Carina’ to steal the show.
It looks as though, Based on provisional results, Rives Potts’ McCurdy and Rhodes 48-foot ‘Carina’ (Westbrook CT) won Class 3 and the silver scale model St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy for first in the Division and probably more loot to boot. ‘Carina’ with Potts at the helm won the same first place trophy in the 2010 race and in 1970 ‘Carina’ won it under Richard Nye. This ties ‘Carina’ with ‘Finisterre’ as the boat with the most lighthouses on her trophy rack. ‘Finisterre’ won three in a row under Carleton Mitchel 1956, 1958 and 1960.
‘Carina’ finished at 6:16PM in Bermuda and had a corrected time of 45:08:16. The US Naval Academy’s new Navy 44 ‘Defiance’ was second in Class 3 behind ‘Carina’ and also second in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Her corrected time was 45:42:50. The US Naval Academy’s older Navy 44 Class 2 boat, ‘Swift’, was first in her class and third overall for the division with a corrected time of 46:09:04. It was a pretty tight race with just 26 corrected minutes between these top two boats in the division after a 635-mile sleigh-ride.
For Potts and crew, this is his second St. David’s Lighthouse win in a row. “We had a fantastic race,” Potts said. “ Pretty straight forward. We powered through the stream and then played two big shifts down the rhumbline further south. We gybed twice and then tacked twice for the finish when the wind got lighter and went forward. We finished under a light #1 headsail.” These gybes and tacks were more than most of the other boats in the race made and probably helped ‘Carina’ win overall.
“The boat just got back from a circumnavigation and racing in the world’s top races three weeks ago. My son and nephew did a great job of getting ‘Carina’ ready for Bermuda. In a race like this, preparation is one key to winning. Crew work is another and we had a family based crew working together.” Potts added.
The crew of ‘Carina’ is made up of four fathers and five sons. One of the fathers, Bud Sutherland, is Rives Potts’ brother-in-law and his son Rives Sutherland is the Captain of ‘Carina’ who took her on her global trek.
Change happened overnight in the Double-Handed Division, too. Perennial double-handed winner Hewitt Gaynor (Fairfield CT) slipped his J120 Mireille into first in Class 15 and first in the division. Joe Harris (South Hamilton MA) who sailed such a fast race in his Class 40 ‘Gryphon Solo2’ was alone on the leader board Monday. Harris had an elapsed time of 60:20:26 while Gaynor’s was 74:12:34. On corrected time, ‘Mireille’ beat ‘Gryphon Solo2’ by roughly 4 hours.
The provisional Gibbs Hill Division winner is ‘Shockwave’ a Reichel/Pugh 72 skippered by George Sakellaris of Farmington MA. Sakellaris will win the silver replica of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, a top prize along with the St. David’s Light. ‘Shockwave’ took double silver snatching the North Rock Beacon Trophy, the third important prize for the IRC corrected time winner, which is a silver replica of the 1960-1990 North Rock Light Tower that once warned mariners of the rocky approach to Bermuda from the North.
‘Med Spirit’ sailed by Michael D’Amelio (Boston, MA) in the Open Division is the other winner that seems clear under the provisional results for the Royal Mail trophy. Six boats started in this division that featured boats from 40 feet to 100 feet in length. Their common denominator was moveable ballast, either canting keels or water ballast. The 3 Class 40 boats all had water ballast and were fully crewed so they did not qualify to sail against the 3 Class 40’s that went double-handed in Class 15.
The Wally 100 ‘Indio’ under Mark Fliegner (Monaco) came second. ‘Donnybrook’, in her maiden race skippered by Jim Muldoon (Washington DC) had to retire with damage to her daggerboard and daggerboard trunk. Under corrected time only about 5 hours separated the winning 100-footer and the bottom Class 40.
‘Spirit of Bermuda’, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation sail-training vessel, was the sole entry in the new Spirit of Tradition Division. She finished Monday night at 11:20 ADT.
By John Rousmaniere
As of 1800 Sunday, six boats have finished the race, each of them breaking an elapsed time course record. In finishing order, they are Rambler (Class 10), Bella Mente (Class 10), Shockwave (Class 10), Team Tiburon (Class 10), Med Spirit (Class 16), and Kodiak (Class 8). Shockwave and Kodiak are the current corrected time leaders in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division and St. David’s Lighthouse Division, respectively. Med Spirit is the current corrected time leader in the Open Division.
First to finish Rambler, a 90-foot Reichel/Pugh sloop owned by George David (Hartford, Conn.), broke the course record decisively, averaging 16.06 knots down the 635-mle course in a time of 39 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds. She clipped 9 hours off the previous course record set in 2004 by Morning Glory, which averaged 13.06 knots for Open Division boats and 14 hours from the ‘Official’ Record. Med Spirit set the new Open Division record of 45 hours, 26 minutes, 28 minutes… three hours faster than the previous record.
Sailors had vivid descriptions of high-speed, extremely rough conditions on the long, fast reach that prevailed from start to finish. Scott King, Team Tiburon, reported that after starting under a spinnaker, once the boat cleared the Narragansett Bay entrance buoys the crew set a double-headsail rig with a topsail over a jib. They then took in and shook out reefs in the mainsail as the conditions warranted, with one or two sailors always working the mainsheet.
Team Tiburon sailed Wizard a 74-foot sloop designed by Reichel/Pugh and chartered by Mark E. Watson III, a Bermuda business CEO. They covered 385 miles in her first 24 hours in the race, averaging almost 17 knots. “She felt slow when the speed dropped to 11,” King said. “I’ve been in boats where 11 knots was not even part of the plan.”
King said the water was always rough, with some waves 8 feet or higher and water constantly on deck, pushing sailors around. The Gulf Stream crossing was not as rough as he expected, he said, but it was spectacularly beautiful.
“Just before we entered the Stream we saw a long streak of phosphorescence in the water, as though a full moon was out and shining right down on it.” The phosphorescence disappeared when the boat charged into the main body of the Gulf Stream, but reappeared. “Dolphins were torpedoing through all this, right in front of us,” King said.
As they neared Bermuda on Sunday morning, Team Tiburon sailed into a series of rain-squalls with stronger winds that pushed the boat to over 20 knots as she crossed the finish line off St. David’s Head.
Dateline: 07:09:18 ADT Bermuda: George David’s 90ft maxi Rambler has smashed the 635 mile Newport Bermuda race record, clipping a massive 14 hours off the previous best time set 10 years ago by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket. The new record now stands at 39hr, 39 minutes, 18 seconds (subject to ratification) – an average speed of 16knots.
A delighted George David said. “These were perfect conditions. The most exciting moment was when we hit 26 knots. I’m so pleased with our performance. We have reduced the record by 25% – Not bad for a boat that is now 10 years old. This Rambler is the best boat I have ever owned!”
Rambler not only slashed the race record, her crew also spanked their rivals, with Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente crossing the lighthouse line 1 hour 43 minutes behind, followed 3 minutes later by Shockwave skippered by George Sakellaris.
On corrected time however, Shockwave beat Rambler by 33 minutes, followed by Belle Mente in 3rd and Team Tiburon 4th. Two yachts in class 10 are still racing.
There are 166 entries competing in the race, including four Bermuda boats.American entry, Ragana, withdrew from the race at the weekend after experiencing mechanical breakdown en route to Newport.Mr Osmond, a veteran of 15 Newport Bermuda Races, said preparations for this year’s race have so far gone as planned.
“Everything is going along quite smoothly fortunately for the committee which consists of 46 people who have been working for two years on this event,” he said. “All the pieces have come together and everybody has been working very hard.”
Bermuda Race vice-chairman and past RBYC Commodore Les Crane added: “I think registration is going very smoothly and John Osmond who is the race chairman has done a fabulous job putting all this together.“We’re registering the boats ensuring all the paperwork is complete and that everyone is in compliance with the rules that allow them to race.“The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club work closely with the Cruising Club of America who are partners in this race and we’re up here to ensure everyone understand what to expect when they get to Bermuda.”There are a number of social events that will take place in the final lead up to the start of the race, not the least of which is the ever popular Gosling’s Rum Newport Shipyard Crew Party.“We will have a great Bermudian party sponsored by Gosling’s at Newport Shipyard on Wednesday night,” Mr Crane said. “There will be Dark & Stormies and music and it will be a lot of fun.”The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race commences June 15 and concludes several days later in St David’s. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta presented by Butterfield Group will be sailed in the Great Sound on Friday, June 22nd.
Entry List for Newport to Bermuda 2012
|ANGEL||Ctm 84||CD||Edward T. Anderson|
|ATTITUDE||Beneteau 423||CD||Shawn Dahlen|
|BLUE||C&C 51xl||CD||Daniel Epstein|
|CALUSA||Sabre 386||CD||Peter H. Holmes|
|CAPELLA||Sabre 452||CD||David Millet|
|CETACEA||Hinckley SW 59||CD||Christopher J. Culver|
|CHASSEUR||Little Harbor 54||CD||Gregory G. Smith|
|CHECKMATE||Alden 44||CD||Frank J. Flores, Jr.|
|CONTINGENCY||Oyster 53||CD||Christopher C. Darby|
|CRACKERJACK||Cambria 40||CD||Alan H. Krulisch|
|DEFIANCE||Swan 56||CD||Peter B. Noonan|
|FEO||Joshua Ketch||CD||Eric P. Best|
|GLORY||Tartan 4700||CD||William Slattery|
|GRACE||First 40.7||CD||Jack Ives|
|HAERLEM||Swan 55||CD||Hendrikus PLM Wisker|
|INISHARON||F&C 44||CD||James D’A. Murphy|
|ISOLA||Baltic 52||CD||Howard Eisenberg|
|KANGAROO IV||Sabre 425||CD||Harvey E. Cohen|
|LADY B||Swan 60||CD||John P. Madden Jr.|
|LIBERTY CALL||Hallberg Rassy 43||CD||Matthew G, Pilon|
|LILLA||CNB Briand76||CD||Simon De Pietro|
|MOONDANCE||Swan 56||CD||Michael V, Johnson|
|OCEAN WANDERER 1||Montevideo 43||CD||Erwin Wanderer|
|ODYSSEY||Swan 55/57||CD||Glen V Dexter|
|PILGRIM||Alden 44||CD||Mark Rice|
|POESKE||Beneteau First42||CD||Richard Donn|
|SHINDIG||Pea39||CD||Kevin G, Flannery|
|SKY||Swan 53||CD||Barrett Raymond|
|TRUE||J/160||CD||Howard B. Hodgson, Jr.|
|WISCHBONE||Oyster 53||CD||Jeffrey S. Wisch|
|ALIBI||J120||DH||Gardner L. Grant, Jr.|
|AMHAS||Class 40||DH||MacKenzie Davis|
|AVATAR||Ranger 37||DH||John Kedzierski|
|CHOUCAS||Sunfast 36||DH||Frederic Cosandey|
|DRAGON||Class 40||DH||Michael Hennessy|
|GRYPHONSOLO2||Akilaria RC2||DH||Joseph S. Harris|
|KIVA||Hinckley SW 51CB||DH||Mark Stevens|
|MIREILLE||J120||DH||E. Hewitt Gaynor|
|NEXT BOAT||Morris 45||DH||Mark Ellman|
|OAKCLIFF RACING||Ker 11.3||DH||Jeffrey A. MacFarlane|
|PENGUIN||Pearson 35||DH||Steven H. Dane|
|RESOLUTE||J122||DH||D. Scott Miller|
|RUSE||Swan 44mkII||DH||William Marsh|
|SAILOR BANDIDO||Quest 33||DH||Christopher A. Palabrica|
|SEABISCUIT||J46||DH||Nathan C, Owen|
|VALOUR||Peterson 37||DH||Ernie Messer|
|WHISPER||Hinckley 48||DH||Thomas J. Vander Salm|
|AVRA||Ctm 40||GHL||George Petrides|
|BELLA MENTE||72′ Mini Maxi||GHL||Hap Fauth|
|CLEM||Swan 56||GHL||Jaime Olazabal|
|DEFIANCE||Marten 49||GHL||Hamnett P. Hill|
|DRAGONFLY||J/130||GHL||Colin A. McGranahan|
|MEANIE||R/P 52||GHL||Thomas Akin|
|PANDORA||C&C 115||GHL||Peter J. Bromley|
|PTARMIGAN||Ker 43||GHL||Lawrence F, Dickie|
|RAMBLER||Ctm 90||GHL||George David|
|RIMA2||RP 55||GHL||John G. Brim|
|SHOCKWAVE||Mini Maxi||GHL||George Sakellaris|
|SNOW LION||Ker 50||GHL||Lawrence S, Huntington|
|STARK RAVING MAD||Swan 601||GHL||James C. Madden|
|TEAM TIBURON||R/P 74||GHL||Mark E. Watson III (USMMA)|
|TEMPTATION-OAKCLIFF||Ker 50||GHL||Oakcliff Sailing Santry Arthur|
|UXORIOUS IV||Swan 62||GHL||Colin J. Buffin|
|DONNYBROOK||Andrews 80||Open||James P. Muldoon|
|ICARUS||Class 40||Open||Amanda Mochrie|
|INDIO||Wally 100||Open||Mark Fliegner|
|MED SPIRIT||Welbourn 92||Open||Michael DAmelio|
|TOOTHFACE||Akilaria Class40||Open||Mike Dreese|
|TRANSPORT COHÉRENCE||Class40||Open||Benoit Jouandet|
|ACTAEA||Hinckley B40||SDL||Michael M, Cone|
|AIRBORNE IV||Beneteau 50||SDL||William B. Greenwood III|
|AKELA III||Swan 43||SDL||Djoerd Hoekstra|
|AURELIUS||Bestevaer 76||SDL||Daniel van Starrenburg|
|AURORA||Tartan 41||SDL||Andrew F. Kallfelz|
|AVENIR||C&C 41||SDL||Joseph Murray|
|BACCI||Swan 53||SDL||Lorenzo Vascotto|
|BANDANA||Swan 47||SDL||Charles F. Benson|
|BARLEYCORN||NYYC Swan 42||SDL||Brendan J Brownyard|
|BARRA||Morris 486||SDL||Bruce M. MacNeil|
|BEAGLE||J/44||SDL||Philip H. Gutin|
|BELLE AURORE||Cal 40||SDL||Doug Jurrius|
|BLACK WATCH||Ctm 68 Yawl||SDL||Joseph C. Robillard|
|BOMBARDINO||Santa Cruz 52||SDL||James and Macrae Sykes|
|BRETWALDA 3||Rogers 46||SDL||Bob Pethick|
|BRIGAND||Ctm 50||SDL||Sean D. Saslo|
|CANNONBALL||Swan 68||SDL||Charles A. Robertson|
|CARINA||Ctm 48||SDL||A. Rives Potts, Jr.|
|CHARLIE V||J/44||SDL||Norman H. Schulman, MD|
|CHRISTOPHER DRAGON||J/122||SDL||Andrew Weiss|
|CONVICTUS MAXIMUS||Farr IRC 42||SDL||Donald W. Nicholson|
|CRAZY HORSE||Frers Comp 45||SDL||Patrick T. Walker|
|CYGNETTE||Swan 441||SDL||William J. Mayer|
|DAWN STAR||Baltic 46||SDL||William N. Hubbard III|
|DECISION||Carkeek HP 40||SDL||Stephen Murray|
|DEFIANCE||NAVY 44||SDL||Bryan Weisberg|
|DOGSLED||Kaufman 47||SDL||Todd Forrest Barnard|
|DORADE||S&S Custom||SDL||James A. Hilton|
|DREAMCATCHER||Swan 48 S&S||SDL||Stephen Kylander|
|FEARLESS||Farr 395||SDL||Shaun J. Ensor|
|FINESSE||J42||SDL||Newton P.S. Merrill|
|FLYING LADY||Swan 46||SDL||Phillip S. Dickey MD|
|GLIDE||J42||SDL||C.Tanner Rose, Jr|
|GOLD DIGGER||J/44||SDL||James D. Bishop|
|GRACIE||McCurdy & Rhodes||SDL||Stephan A & Simon W Frank|
|GREAT SCOT||J35||SDL||Darren Garnier|
|GREY GHOST||Zaal 38||SDL||Philip P. Parish|
|GRUNDOON||Columbia 50||SDL||James A. Grundy|
|HAKUNA MATATA||Cal 39 TM 1-147||SDL||Christopher J. Andrews|
|HIRO MARU||Swan 43 Classic||SDL||Hiroshi Nakajima|
|HOT TICKET||King 40||SDL||James E. Hightower|
|ILLUSION||Grand Soleil 45||SDL||Ralph F. Racca|
|ISLA||New York 32||SDL||Henry S. May, Jr.|
|JACQUELINE IV||Hinckley SW 42||SDL||Robert Forman|
|KODIAK||Ctm 65||SDL||Edwin Llwyd Ecclestone|
|LAPIN||Beneteau First 4||SDL||Christopher J. Clark|
|LINDY||Peterson 38||SDL||David G. Dickerson|
|LIR||Swan 45||SDL||John A. McNamara|
|LORA ANN||Express 37||SDL||Richard T. du Moulin|
|MAGIC||Santa Cruz 52||SDL||Kenneth Laudon|
|MATADOR||J133||SDL||Dale E. McIvor|
|MISCHIEVOUS||Ctm 65||SDL||Albert J. Fitzgibbons III|
|MISTY||J40 WK||SDL||Fred Allardyce|
|MOLTO BENE||Beneteau First 4||SDL||Richard Ewing|
|MOONSHINE||Tartan 4100||SDL||Dennis J. Ziemba|
|MORGAN OF MARIETTA||Centurion 42||SDL||Colin G. Golder|
|MORPHEUS||Schumacher 50||SDL||James D. Gregory|
|MUSICA||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Cliff T. Haddox|
|NASTY MEDICINE||Corby 41.5||SDL||Dr Stephen J. Sherwin|
|NICOLE||Cal 40||SDL||Thomas C. duPont|
|OLD SCHOOL||Farr 395||SDL||J Ganson Evans|
|PASSION4C||Bill Tripp 56||SDL||Stefan Lehnert|
|PATRIOT||Nautor Swan||SDL||Richard J. Isted|
|QUEST||Cambria 40||SDL||Dennis W. Powers|
|RAGANA||Cape Fear 38R||SDL||Darius Peleda|
|REGATTA||Carter 41||SDL||Constantine G. Koste|
|RELATIVITY||First 50||SDL||Hall Palmer|
|ROCKET J. SQUIRREL||Swan 39||SDL||L, Otorowski|
|ROCKET SCIENCE||J120||SDL||Rick F. Oricchio|
|RUNAWAY||J/44||SDL||Lawrence R. Glenn|
|SELKIE||McCurdy & Rhodes 38||SDL||Sheila McCurdy|
|SHAZAAM||J42||SDL||Roger B. Gatewood|
|SHINNECOCK||J120||SDL||James C. Praley|
|SINN FEIN||Cal 40||SDL||Peter S. Rebovich, Sr.|
|SLIDE RULE||First 44.7||SDL||Scott Bearse|
|STORMY PETREL||Leadership 44||SDL||Jack Neades|
|SWIFT||NAVY 44||SDL||Steve Jaenke|
|TEMPTRESS||IMX-45||SDL||Robert W. Kits Heyningen|
|TRIPLE LINDY||Swan 44 MKll||SDL||Joseph Mele|
|VAMP||J/44||SDL||Leonard J. Sitar|
|WANDRIAN||Taylor 41||SDL||D. William Tucker|
|WAZIMO||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Barrett Holby|
|WHITE RHINO||Swan 56||SDL||Collin J. Marshall|
|WIDOW MAKER||C&C 44||SDL||George Bauer|
|WINDBORN||J120||SDL||Richard W. Born|
|ZEST||Hinckley SW42||SDL||Brian E. Swiggett|
|ZION||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Timothy P. Maney|
|ZOE II||First 40||SDL||Francois Brassard|
|SPIRIT OF BERMUDA||Ctm 86||SPIRIT||Scott Jackson|
The Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar on March 17-18 introduces a new approach to safety education. The seminar serves sailors in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race as well as delivery and crews returning from Bermuda and other offshore sailors. It is also perfect for skippers and crews on coastal racers plus ocean and coastal cruisers, too. This Cruising Club of America seminar is at the Newport (RI) Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island.
Register at http://www.bermudarace.com/EntryProcess/SafetyatSea/tabid/190/Default.aspx in advance. Or for those who choose to register at the door in Newport, walk-ins are welcome
On Saturday, March 17, the seminar offers two tracks. The morning �refresher course� is for anybody who has attended two or more US SAILING certified safety seminars since 2002. Participants may then do hands-on, in-water survival training in the afternoon. They will earn an ISAF Approved Certificate in one day. The other track is the All-day Safety at Sea seminar for people who have not attended a safety seminar recently.
On Sunday, there are two all-day courses� the Practical, Hands on Training Safety Seminar that combines with Saturday’s all day Safety at Sea Seminar to award the ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR training course. In addition, a Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar aimed specifically at Bermuda Race sailors will be held in the morning.
More information about the CCA Safety at Sea Seminar and a link to direct registration and details about the Newport Bermuda Race are at www.BermudaRace.com.
Every offshore sailor worth his or her salt dreams of doing the Newport Bermuda Race. Sheila McCurdy has sailed 15 of them and will do number 16 in 2012. McCurdy, from Middletown, RI, is the immediate past Commodore of the Cruising Club of America (CCA), co-organizer of the race with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC). She has sailed nine of her Bermuda Races on Selkie.
Her first three Newport Bermuda Races— 1986, 1988 and 1990— were as navigator for her dad, James A. (Jim) McCurdy, chief designer at McCurdy & Rhodes, Naval Architects. In 1985 he designed the 38’6” Selkie for his family. Sheila has sailed six other Newport Bermuda Races as Selkie’s skipper and navigator, as well as four races in other boats including a stint as advisor aboard a US Naval Academy entry.
The only recent races McCurdy missed were in 2004, when she sailed trans-Atlantic with a crew of Navy midshipmen, and in 2010, when as Commodore of the CCA, she and RBYC Commodore Peter Shrubb had to stay ashore, prepared to address emergencies. Unable to stay away from Bermuda, she sailed Selkie to Bermuda in 2011 for the CCA cruise in the waters of the archipelago.
Her best Bermuda Races were in 1994 and 2008. In both races Selkie finished 2nd in Class and 2nd in the St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division. In 1994, CCA Commodore Kaighn Smith’s Swan 38 Gaylark snatched the Lighthouse Trophy out of her grasp, winning by a mere 15-minute margin after 635 rhumb line miles of hard ocean racing.
After 15 races, with two as bridesmaids, Sheila has high hopes for 2012 and her 10th race on Selkie— “I keep doing the Newport Bermuda Race because I love the rhythm of sailing at sea for days.” Sheila said in a recent interview. “I love the fun of being with friends and family, pushing hard to get top performance from the boat.”
A true seafarer, Sheila added, “I love the complexity of developing a strategy and tactics based on the boat, the crew, the weather, the Gulf Stream and the boats in our class. I love seeing old and new friends in Newport and Bermuda. I love the elegance of the prize giving ceremony at Government House and the bugler at the ‘Sunset and Colours’ routine. I love the relaxed sail home and introducing the ocean to coastal sailors.”
When asked what was special to her about this particular ocean race, one that has been such an important part of her life, she replied, “The Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have kept Newport Bermuda Race as a race designed mostly for very good amateurs, one that is organized by experienced volunteers who have had a connection to the race over the decades. The race has history and tradition at its core.”
“It is a race that generally rewards good all-around sea boats more than the boats specialized for around-the-buoys.” McCurdy added, “It is a family race for me. Between Dad, my brothers Jim and Ian, my husband Dave, and me, we probably have sailed 50 races. Dad was the Race Chairman in 1982 and CCA Commodore from 1986 to 1987. The race is a family habit or maybe you could better describe it as a chronic condition.”
John Rousmaniere, Newport Bermuda Race Historian and a top offshore sailor in his own right, was a watch captain on Selkie in 2008. He has also sailed with Sheila to the Azores. Rousmaniere has high praise for McCurdy, “She was the person in charge, no doubt about it, and quiet about it. She’s exceptionally well prepared and knowledgeable, a talented racing sailor with a very good feel for a boat, a terrific leader, and also extremely experienced with well over 100,000 miles behind her. I’d sail anywhere with her on a moment’s notice.”
With those 100,000 miles of salt water in her wake, McCurdy is highly experienced and knowledgeable. She is one of five authorized moderators for US SAILING certified safety at sea seminars. She served on the panel for US SAILING’s inquiry into a fatal accident in the 2011 Chicago Yacht Club’s race to Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan.
At the March 17-18 Cruising Club of America Safety at Sea Seminar in Newport RI on March 17-18, Sheila will make the presentation on the crucial topic of damage control. This seminar has an imaginative new curriculum option, a new schedule, and a new seminar attendance rule, plus special hotel room rates for attendees. For more information go to www.BermudaRace.com.
The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race starts Friday afternoon June 15th just off of Castle Hill in Newport RI. Applications for Entry into this invitational adventure are being taken under <Entry Process> on the race website at http://www.bermudarace.com. The classic 635-mile race offers racing in five divisions— The St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division, The Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill (professional) Division and the Open (professional) division. There is great competition for all levels of commitment and experience.
About 40 of the two Lighthouse Division entries are expected to sail the Onion Patch series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. Boats compete in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport, then race to Bermuda, and finally sail in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com.
The race website— www.BermudaRace.com— carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, race history, and expert advice on inspections, the Gulf Stream, and preparing for the classic 635-mile race across the Gulf Stream to St. David’s Light. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2012 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.
Newport Bermuda 2012 entries on pace with past fleets
Three weeks into the entry process for the 48th Newport Bermuda Race®, applications for entry for the 2012 race continue to roll in at a rapid rate for the 106-year-old biennial ocean-racing classic, with expectations of another large fleet.
Brin Ford, Database Chairman for the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, commented, “As of February 3rd, the rate of entries was exactly on pace with the 2010 race with 105 boats having submitted Applications for Entry (AFE).” The Newport Bermuda Race is an invitational event, so skippers must submit an application and receive an invitation before completing the registration process. The 2010 race was the third largest ever, with 183 boats. The only bigger fleets were 264 in the 2006 Centennial Race and 198 in 2008.
“Of the 105 AFE’s submitted,” Ford continued, “77 are now approved for their invitation, 35 need to provide Experience Forms, and the rest are pending. Thirty-three skippers say their boat has not done the race before. We’re still missing many of our old friends, but they have time to enter before the April 15th deadline without paying an extra late fee. An additional 17 captains have begun the registration process, but have yet to file an AFE.”
Newport Bermuda Race Chairman and a multi-race veteran, Dr. John Osmond, is enthusiastic about the prospects for another successful race with a large fleet: “The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee is gratified by this early response which shadows the very successful 2010 experience. The Organizing Committee, the Race Ambassadors (mentors for newcomers), and the Inspectors – some 140 volunteers in all – are deeply interested in presenting for our sailing friends an unparalleled racing and social experience. That is the tradition of this wonderful event.”
Some experienced Bermuda Race skippers are coming back. Among the returning boats is Rives Potts’ McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina (Westbrook, CT). She was the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy winner in 2010 and also 1970, and is a veteran of 16 Bermuda Races over 40 years. Carina is now sailing home from Australia under the command of Potts’ son and nephew after competing in December’s Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race. Prior to that, she sailed in the Transatlantic Race 2011 from Newport to England and the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race before sailing to Australia. Carina will have sailed more than 30,000 miles in less than a year by the start of the 2012 Bermuda Race.
So far, other returning Lighthouse winners are Sinn Fein, Peter Rebovich’s Cal 40 (Metuchen, NJ) winner of the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy in 2006 and 2008 and Llwyd Ecclestone’s Frers 68 Kodiak (West Palm Beach, FL).
The classic S&S yawl Dorade, which did her first Bermuda Race under the command of Olin Stephens in 1930, will be sailed by new owner Matt Brooks from San Francisco, CA. Charlie Robertson (Old Saybrook, CT) is returning after a 15-year absence with his Frers Mini-Maxi Cannonball. This is the big yellow boat he sailed back in 1988 to win first place in IMS.
Jimmy Sykes has sailed two yachts named Bombardino, a J130 once and his current Santa Cruz 52 seven times. He notes, “I have skippered all eight races and approximately half the crew have been on board for all of the races. Our best finish in class was first in 2008 and worst in class was thirteenth. Fleetwise, in 2006 we were sixth in fleet and third in class. I have done this many races because two of my three children were on board for all of the races and all three children were aboard on two. They keep me coming back.”
Among stock boat builders, currently J Boats has 21 entries, Swan has 12 and Beneteau has 8. Designer/builders with two or more entries include Peterson, McCurdy & Rhodes, S&S, Santa Cruz, Tartan, Hinckley, C&C, Cal, Baltic, IMX, Ker, Morris, Sabre and Hallberg Rassey. Gold Digger, Jim Bishop’s J44 (New York, NY) and Robert Foreman’s Hinkley SW 42 Jacqueline IV (Bay Shore, NY) will be back for their twelfth races. Gracie, Steve and Simon Frank’s McCurdy & Rhodes 69 (Darien, CT) will make her eleventh race.
Many entries are expected to sail the triathlon of offshore racing by entering the Onion Patch Series, a three-event series in which boats and crews first compete in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport, then race to Bermuda, and finally participate in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com.
The race website, www.BermudaRace.com, carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, race history, and expert advice on inspections, the Gulf Stream, and preparing for the classic 635-mile race across the Gulf Stream to St. David’s Light. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2012 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.
The Cruising Club of America Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar will be held at Newport on March 17-18 with a new curriculum option, a new schedule, and a new seminar attendance rule, plus special hotel room rates for attendees. For more information go to www.BermudaRace.com.