The Newport-Bermuda Race is a classic 635-mile ocean race including a crossing of the tricky Gulf Stream. The race attracts some of the best amateur and professional sailors in the world from modern maxi yachts like Sayonora and Boomerang to racers from our bay who skipper or crew for some of the most competitive boats. In 1936, the 53-footer cutter, Kirawan, owned by Robert P. Baruch, a member of the Manhasset Bay YC, won the Bermuda race, helping to launch the career of yacht designer Philip Rhodes. According to George Baurer, historian for the Cruising Club of America "The 1936 race experienced some of the most severe weather of any race in the event's history, strong southeast winds, gale force, for a week. Ten yachts were disabled or withdrew." Kirawan, owned by Sanford Horowitz, the film producer, came back east from California to compete in Classic Yacht Division of the Newport- Bermuda Race, a new feature for the race. Her seven-man crew included John Rousmaniere, the Yachting writer and John Jourdane, the former Whitbread racer. Two days out, in 25 knots of wind, and close-hauled approximately 70 percent of the time, Kirawan was first in her division. But the wind died about 100 miles out of Bermuda, and Kirawan ended up in 4th place. Her performance adds validity to the assumption that older boats that cut through swells easily just might be competitive with the newer boats in certain wind conditions.
The Newport-Bermuda race is middle part of a three part series called the Onion Patch Series, the only American sailing series that includes a true, blue-water offshore ocean race. It has been sailed biennially since 1952. The New York Yacht Club, the Cruising Club of America and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club organize this event. The Onion Patch Series/ North American IMS Championship includes the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta sailed June 10th and 11th in Newport, The Newport Bermuda Race June 16-22, and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta on Bermuda's Great Sound June 23rd. This year 43 yachts are competing in the Series. Greg Danilek, local Sonar sailor, and more recently, owner of a model boat that he sails on the Mill Pond, sailing on Dawn Treader, came in 2nd in the Onion Patch Series, and 3rd in class 2 of the IMS Cruiser/Racing Division in the Newport-Bermuda Race. Greg was the watch captain on the starboard watch, where he trimmed sails and was helmsman for part of the time.
Mensae, owned by Erling Kristiansen, with Kevin Dailey and Couper Duerr on board, came in 4th in class 7 of the IMS Cruiser/Racing Division of Newport-Bermuda Race. Kevin, who previously finished the "gear buster" Storm Trysail Club's Key West to Baltimore race (reported here on June 22), remarked, rather understatedly, that the Bermuda race was"...not as exciting as the Key West to Baltimore Race." With 25 knots of wind, and on a close reach for most of the race, crew didn't need to adjust the genoa sheet at all, and the main sheet only during a puff. Night sailing was "unbelievably beautiful" as a full, bright moon lit up the sky. As Mensae neared Bermuda, she was greeted with near-calm conditions, which slowed the front half of the fleet and nearly all 176 entries were compressed together. Light wind conditions challenged the sailors, but with good crew work, and expert sail handling, Mensae was able to finish high in her division. Overall, Kevin said the sailing was "gorgeous" and crew had time to spot a few whales and dolphins. Back on land, Vikki Vandamm Dailey, recovering from injuries that prevented her from sailing on Mensae, arranged a party for the crew of Mensae and about 80 other sailors. Held at the Old House at the Mid Ocean Club Golf Course, guests were greeted with a spectacular view across the 3rd fairway to cliffs overlooking the ocean. While a steel drum player from the Swizzle Inn (a familiar spot to Bermuda-goers) provided musical entertainment, guests enjoyed island specialties, such as cassava pie and Bermuda fish chowder. What a nice finish to a week of great sailing.
John Browning, sailing on Wonder, along with Rich duMoulin from Larchmont, 6th in class, had to say about the race "as we approached Bermuda the wind got lighter as we sailed into a high. About 50 miles from the finish, the race basically restarted, giving the little boats a terrific advantage. A race that was rated for 600 miles became, in effect, a 50 mile race. It was a pleasant sail."
The Riverside YC will host the 69th annual Stratford Shoal Race for PHRF, PHRF non-spinnaker, and one design boats on Friday, June 30. Two boats from our area will be competing in this overnight distance race. Sandy Lindenbaum, from KYC, will sail on his Promise Kept, a Beneteau 37, and Kevin Lowes, also from KYC, sailing his OD 35, Banshee. Results next week.
At 4:00 pm on Sunday, July 8th, ESPN2 will air Boat U.S. Santa Maria Cup on Ultimate Sailing 2000 (Show #3).