man Sail’s flagship boat Musandam-Oman Sail hurtled across the finish line in Marseilles today to celebrate their first win of an offshore leg in the MOD70 European Tour and lift them to third overall in the rankings.After battling with light winds from the start of the leg in Cascais on Thursday, the final few hours saw an altogether different struggle as Sidney Gavignet’s triumphant Omani and European crew encountered 35 knot winds which almost caused them to capsize just ten minutes from the finish.“We were going very fast – sometimes too fast,” said an emotional Gavignet.
“It was a bit scary going at those speeds in the black night. We almost capsized in the bay. The wind was dropping but we were caught by a 40 knot gust. The boat reared up – it was so sudden.”
This jolt came on top of discovering as they approached the finish that another 40 mile upwind stage had been added to the 1030 nm course making it an action-packed closing stage to a dramatic leg.
They completed the course from Cascais to Marseilles in 3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 seconds, crossing the line two hours and 23 minutes ahead of second placed Steve Ravussin’s Race for Water and two hours and 45 minutes ahead of sailing legend Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia.
The result was a great testament to the developing skills of the Musandam-Oman Sail crew, Gavignet said, making special mention of Omani helmsman and trimmer Fahad Al Hasni, Khamis Al Anbouri also from Oman and navigator Jeff Cuzon from France.
“Fahad is a great example of what we are trying to do at Oman Sail. He has grabbed the opportunity of being part of Oman Sail and is running with it.
“He still has a lot to learn but he is becoming a serious offshore sailor, both technically and in terms of his energy. He is very positive and contributes to the team, which for me is almost more important than whether they are good or bad sailors.
“Being part of Oman Sail is a platform for doing something great and he is really making the most of his opportunity.
“We are all making progress especially Jeff Cuzon who has been doing a great job in the nav station. He understands better and better what these boats can do and what is and isn’t dangerous from a navigation point of view.
“Khamis came in and replaced Mohsin Al Busaidi for this leg but Mohsin took it the right way and although Khamis was seasick, his energy was impressive. I think he may have been our lucky charm.”
“I am so happy for the team – very proud of them and of our flag,” added Al Hasni.
“I always felt we could win because each time we finished a leg, we discovered something new and added to our experience. In this leg, we discovered we were very fast in the light winds, which has given us a lot of confidence.
“We have beaten some of the best sailors in the world by a long distance and that makes us proud,” said a tired Al Hasni who was planning on a big 24 hour sleep, waking up only when he needed to eat.
For Khamis al Anbouri, it was his first experience of sailing offshore after a career spent mainly racing inshore, during which time, he has posted a win against MOD70 European Tour rival Yann Guichard in the Extreme 40s
“It was my first offshore race and winning the stage was amazing. It shows we are competitive. I was seasick just for an hour but I was able to keep on working because I was so happy to be on board for the leg.
“I love to compete and win especially against these sailors because they are the best. I have now beaten Yann Guichard twice – one in the Extreme 40s and now this.
“It would be nice one day to see an Omani sailor skippering one of these boats and I shall be working very hard towards that aim.”
In Cascais last week, Michel Desjoyeaux, one of most admired and respected offshore sailors in the world commended the Musandam-Oman Sail crew on their progress in the European Tour.
“Sidney (Gavignet) and Oman Sail has improved fast as a team,” he said.
“It’s a very hard job to win because the delivery is very high on all the boats, and because the boats are one design it is difficult to be first.
“My advice for the young Omanis back home is that they have the opportunity today for some of them to sail on the MOD70 but it is the highest they can achieve at the moment. They have to consider that it is a real chance for them but to learn sailing they must sail as much as possible.
“They must sail every kind of boat they can, every race they can and don’t hesitate to take the chance to change boats and sail all kinds of boat, small boats, big boats, boats with full crew, short crew, offshore, inshore to get more experience.”
The Musandam-Oman Sail team will now get some rest ahead of the Marseille City Race which starts on Friday.
Leg 4 Cascais to Marseille
1. Musandam Oman Sail finish time: 07h 11m 34s (3 days 16 hours 11 minutes and 34 2 seconds)
2. Race for Water: 2h 23m 7s from winner
3. FONCIA: 2h 45m 32s from winner
28/09: Marseille City Race
29/09: Marseille City Race
30/09: Start of Leg 5 Marseille – Genoa
|Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet with his international crew became the third different team to win City Race series in successive stops of the MOD70 European Tour when they triumphed in the sixth race in Cascais, Portugal.|
|Musandam-Oman Sail won three of the six races sailed over three days, almost all in light breeze, which proved somewhat contrary to Cascais reputation for reliable strong winds. Smarting after losing second place to FONCIA in the final half mile to the finish of the offshore stage from Dun Laoghaire at dawn in very light airs early on Wednesday morning, Gavignet and his crew realised then they had a small deficit in speed to Michel Desjoyeaux’s crew. They made changes accordingly and, aligned to steady starting and some strong tactics from Jean Francois Cuzon, have remained very consistent, complementing their three wins with two thirds and a fifth to win ahead of Yann Guichard’s Spindrift racing.
Musandam-Oman Sail collect 12 precious points in the chase for the MOD70 European Tour while second place for Spindrift racing ensures they increase their overall lead in the general classification.
Spindrift racing and FONCIA chose to stay closer to the Cascais shore where they found some localised acceleration of the wind and were able to round the top mark in first and second.
With the breeze fading and developing big holes, although the MOD70′s moved with impressive efficiency in the light winds, Race Direction chose to halt the race after one round of the triangle course. This time the triangle course was upwind-downwind as opposed to the downwind-upwind format of yesterday and Friday.
Three boats were called over the start line early, FONCIA, Race for Water and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild.
Musandam-Oman Sail emerged from with the lead and were able to stay ahead around the two lap course.
Race for Water restarted smartly and made a smart good recovery at the top end of the first windward leg. In the end they were able to push Musandam-Oman Sail hard at the finish line.
Results after six City Races
MOD70 European Tour Standings. After two offshore stages and three City Race series.
Sidney Gavignet, FRA skipper Musandam-Oman Sail (OMA): “ We are happy, we won three races from six which is pretty good. It is great, just great. What is good is that we just work on making progress and we did not need to make big progress, but to just keeping making progress step by step all the time wherever you start from and we started pretty low. We lost crew on the first race in Kiel. We broke the daggerboard in Dublin, so we were starting from quite low, and had some problems. But we kept working. We kept the positive spirit and little by little we get more cards to play the game with. What we learned here, if we had those two cards on the way in, we would have been second from Dublin. One is easy we could not pass the battens across in the light winds and the other is speed with the gennaker. So for sure we are making progress and growing in confidence and that affects the others who lose in confidence, we need to keep progressing.
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|Yann Guichard and his crew of five crossed the finish line on Thursday July 12 at 12hrs 08m 37s UTC (14hrs 08m 37s) to take overall victory in the inaugural KRYS OCEAN RACE transatlantic race in an elapsed time four days 21 hours 08 minutes 37s, an average of 25.03 kts on this 2950 miles race course.|
|In this first ocean race for the new MOD70 one design multihull class, Spindrift racing finished about an hour and a half ahead of Sébastien Josse’s Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and FONCIA, who were about a quarter of an hour behind second, after a great race across the Atlantic from New York to Brest in winds which is rarely dropped below twenty knots …This is the first great ocean racing victory for Yann Guichard.
At 38, this former Olympic Tornado catamaran sailor, who finished fourth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, has amassed considerable multihull experience offshore with Marc Guillemot, Bruno Peyron and Franck Cammas, racing solo across the Atlantic in 2010, but also on the Swiss lakes in the D35 and M-2 multihulls.
He has also raced inshore as helm in the America’s Cup World Series and the Extreme 40 series.
Launched in January this year, Spindrift racing is MOD70 hull number 5, and has been taken on by his crew, which includes Pascal Bidégorry, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, Jacques Guichard, Leo Lucet and Kevin Escoffier.
Bidégorry, Escoffier and Le Vaillant are among those who set the existing outright Atlantic record in 2009.
Spindrift racing sailed an actual 3284 miles on the water at an average of 28.04 knots.
|For the leaders of the KRYS OCEAN RACE the frontal system that they have ridden since Saturday night continues to prove the gift, which keeps on giving.|
|Before leaving New York, initial predictions suggested that the five MOD70’s would benefit for at least three to four days, but as the leaders now contemplate negotiating the north east side of the Azores high pressure system, it now seems likely they will have every chance of curving progressively towards Ireland, the Scillies gate and then to the finish line in Brest with hardly any reduction in speed.Sébastien Col, tactician and helm from FONCIA, even suggested today that the most favourable weather files had them reaching the finish with no gybes.With the S-SW’ly winds still hitting over 30kts this afternoon, their fourth since leaving Manhattan, the speeds of the three leading MOD70’s continue to be impressive. Spindrift racing have clocked up another day of more than 700 miles on the mid afternoon rankings, holding their average speed just under 30kts.So far Spindrift racing’s remarkable 711.9 miles sailed over 24 hours, set Monday, is the highest run yet.Yann Guichard and his team, which has lead since Sunday night, still managed to increase their margin on the chasing duo today. With around 1300 miles to sail to the finish, Spindrift racing was holding an advance of 50 miles this afternoon ahead of Seb Josse and crew on Groupe Edmond de Rothschild with FONCIA 13 miles behind them in third.Foncia’s Sébastien Col told the live radio call today that their best option should present itself as they pass over the Azores high pressure system. Depending on its evolution as the more southerly boat of the leading trio, FONCIA may find a better, reaching angle sooner whilst their two opponents may find themselves slowed, on a more downwind, open angle.
But patience has, to some extent, been part of the FONCIA strategy, Col acknowledging on today’s radio vacation with KRYS OCEAN RACE HQ in Brest, that both Spindrift racing and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild have continued with better wind strength and angle.
Col said: “ We are slightly slower than them and just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then try to catch places after.”
The mood remains stoic, mostly upbeat on fourth placed Musandam-Oman Sail. They have adapted well to their compromised predicament, managing to replace their damaged port foil with the starboard one, a delicate manoeuvre in 25-30kts of wind which required all the strength of three crew plus one helping the lift on a halyard. Though they had tried to sail without a foil, they had found the boat liable to nosediving. But in their new configuration they were making a decent 26 knots average this afternoon, but were some 122 miles behind FONCIA.
The leading boats are expected Friday, spearing right into the first day of the massive Tonneres de Brest maritime festival.
The 20th anniversary international gathering of mariners and craft of all shapes and sizes is expected to attract somewhere around 800,000 visitors to Brest’s seven kilometres of waterfront festivities and runs 13th to 19th July.
Sébastien Col, FONCIA, tactician, trimmer, helm: “Today FONCIA is sailing just above Spindrift and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild, our target is the waypoint to the north of the high pressure which we will reach in approximately 24 hours. We are sailing a little slower than Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Spindrift because we are a bit more south than them and have a little bit less wind and they have a better angle and so that means we are slightly slower than them so just have to try to sail the boat as fast as we can. With this little disadvantage we try to cross the high pressure not too far behind these two guys, and then will try to catch places after. We are targeting only one gybe to approach the Scilly Islands. One of the best routages we have actually shows that we have no gybes, and so that even suggests it will be very fast for the end of the race.”
Ryan Breymaier, No 1, Musandam-Oman Sail: “We are going well at the moment – pretty much full speed. When the foil failed, we had to take it out because there was a lot of turbulence and drag and the boat was very slow – about 22 knots – though when it came out completely, the bow dug in a lot so we had to reduce sail. We didn’t feel comfortable trying to change the foil from one side to the other during the night but now we have the foil from the starboard side on the port side, which makes things normal again. The guys are getting tired as it weighs 100kgs and takes three crew plus one on the halyard every time we change it over, but hopefully we will only have to do it twice more during the race.”
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Coutts and Luna Rossa split the Newport Championships
Newport proved to be a statement event for the US defender of the America’s Cup as ORACLE TEAM USA was prominent in all areas of the leaderboard. Jimmy Spithill’s team earned the overall 2011-12 AC World Series Championship with a strong second place finishes in both the match racing and fleet racing in Newport. Spithill also claimed the overall season Fleet Racing Championship while Sweden’s Artemis Racing won the inaugural season’s Match Racing Championship.
“Consistency had been the key,” Spithill said moments before he was handed the newly commissioned AC World Series trophy. “We were the last team to arrive here, but we came out and performed under pressure. For us it was very satisfying to see us step up and the other guys fall back when the pressure came on.”
His veteran stable-mate very nearly stole the day in front of a capacity crowd of spectators at Fort Adams. Russell Coutts won the Newport Match Racing Championship over Spithill and almost took out the fleet race as well, but was denied that honor by Chris Draper’s Luna Rossa Piranha team, who took advantage of a penalty to the Coutts team to grab a lead they would extend to the finish, to grab the Newport Fleet Racing Championship. Coutts was under intense pressure in the latter stages of the race from the Italian Swordfish team, but just held on for second place.
“Today just happened to work out for us. We got some nice breaks, but I wouldn’t give us too much credit for it,” Coutts said. “As a team, we’re really happy. Jimmy and his guys won the World Series and that’s what we came here to do… We’re always out there to win, we’re not there to just sail around the buoys – we want to win.”
For Chris Draper, the fleet racing win was a nice turn around after a difficult week: “We’ve had a tough week, the team’s been pretty down, but I’m pleased that both boats did well today. We needed that result to prove to ourselves that we could do it, so we’re happy.”
Terry Hutchinson’s Artemis Racing placed fourth in the Newport Match Racing Championship this week, which earned his team enough points to win the Match Racing title for the season.
“It’s a nice milestone for the team,” Hutchinson said, his mood tempered somewhat by a poor fleet race on Sunday. “But I think we have a lot of work to do. There are a lot of areas we can do better. But we have 14 months to do it and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Newport event marks the end of the first season of AC World Series racing and follows previous events in Cascais (POR), Plymouth (UK), San Diego (USA), Naples and Venice (ITA). Regatta Director Iain Murray and his team have conducted 130 races over 30 days of racing in the six international venues. Over the time, only one day of races has been postponed due to weather.
Sunday’s racing was broadcast live, coast to coast, in the USA on NBC, marking the return of the Cup to network television for the first time in more than 20 years. The final day of racing in the opening two events of the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco in August and October will likewise be shown on NBC.
Racing will start anew next month with the 2012-13 AC World Series in San Francisco from August 21-26. The new Ben Ainslie Racing will join the circuit as it comes to the host city of the 34th America’s Cup.
Loïck Peyron, skipper, Energy Team, reflection on the season: “After six events and almost one year of racing, we need to improve still in our match racing, but in the fleet racing we are happy to be third overall for the season, which is good. Now, we look forward to the racing in San Francisco in August and October.”
Dean Barker, skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand, on a tough day: “We had a nice start and we’re second at the first mark and then we just blew it. We made a couple of mistakes and fell back to fifth or sixth and from there it was very difficult to fight our way back through.”
Nathan Outteridge, skipper, Team Korea, on his team’s performance: “We didn’t have an ideal start, but we kept moving forward and on the last leg upwind we really nailed it and made up some places. I think we’ve performed better than we were initially hoping. This week I think we sailed the best we’ve sailed the whole time. So we’re really looking forward to San Francisco.”
2011-12 AC World Series Overall Championship Leaderboard
(Team, Match Racing Points, Fleet Racing Points, Total Points)
1. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL…47 – 55 – 102 points
2. Emirates Team New Zealand…41 – 52 – 93 points
3. Artemis Racing…50 – 32 – 82 points
4. Energy Team…38 – 36 – 74 points
5. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS…39 – 29 – 68 points
6. Team Korea…33 – 33 – 66 points
7. Luna Rossa Piranha…26 – 26 – 52 points
8. Luna Rossa Swordfish…15 – 16 – 31 points
9. China Team…15 – 16 – 31 points
AC World Series Newport – Fleet Racing Championship Final Results and Standings
Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Total Points
Luna Rossa Piranha 3 8 5 5 1 53
ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL 1 1 1 3 5 48
Emirates Team New Zealand 6 2 3 1 6 40
Team Korea 8 6 2 4 4 36
Luna Rossa Swordfish 7 5 6 6 3 35
ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS 2 7 8 8 2 33
Artemis Racing 4 3 4 7 7 32
Energy Team 5 4 7 2 8 30
AC World Series Newport Match Racing Championships – Standings
1. ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS
2. ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL
3. Luna Rossa Piranha
4. Artemis Racing
5. Energy Team
6. Emirates Team New Zealand
7. Luna Rossa Swordfish
8. Team Korea
For More George Bekris America’s Cup World Series Action Photos click HERE
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.