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.