A record-breaking fleet of 264 yachts set off for Bermuda on June 16 in the 16 division Newport to Bermuda centennial race. Over the course of the 634-mile race, the goal of many teams was to finish in the money and bring home some silver. For others, this race was their "right of passage," and the excitement of participating in such a historic race was reward enough. Whatever each teams goals and dreams were, all of them had to face challenges. This year was no different. Added to picking the most advantageous point of entry into the Gulf Stream was the challenge of lack of wind for most of the race. Every Bermuda Race is a true navigator's race, but when the wind is as light as this year's race, the skills of a team's navigator takes on even more importance.
Saturday, June 24 was the day of prize giving. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal presented the winning trophies on the grounds of Government House during the ceremony held at sunset. "The wonderful enjoyment of sailing the Bermuda Race has brought people together for over a century," said the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, who continued, "I went from sailing as a young girl to riding horses but at the end of my career I am now firmly back to sailing. I have to confess though, that I never felt seasick on a horse." The Princess Royal presented 85 crews with the major trophies to each division winner. Local winners include John Thomson, Jr., on board Alchemy, who won the Harvey Conover Memorial Trophy for second yacht to finish. Alchemy raced in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, Class 12. Richard du Moulin, from Larchmont, sailing his Express 37, Lora Ann, won the Philip S. Weld Prize for best corrected time in Class 16 - Double-handed division. Chris Reyling won the Moxie Prize for crew of double-handed winner. Jim Miller, on Antipodes, raced in the St. David's Lighthouse Division, Class 8, and many of the boats familiar to our bay from the Manhasset Bay YC's Fall Series, also raced, including Bob and Farley Towse, Blue Yankee, Scott Dinhofer, Brown Eyed Girl and Jim Bishop, Gold Digger. Also racing was Eric Goetz, of Goetz Boats, Bristol, RI, who double-handed his boat Katie G. Eric grew up sailing right here on Manhasset Bay.
Not from our area, but worthy of mention is the award given to Eleonara de Haas from St. Maarten. For the first time in the history of the race, an all women's team earned a division title aboard Synergy in their first Bermuda race. The team earns the inaugural Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy as the yacht with the best-corrected time in the Cruiser Division. The trophy takes its name from the skipper and yacht that won the Bermuda Race on three consecutive times from 1956 to 1962. - a feat that has yet to be repeated. de Haas and her crew raced to raise awareness of their WAVES organization - Women Against Violence Everywhere. They are the first all-woman team to win a major award in the Bermuda Race.
An initial awards ceremony on Friday saw 2,500 sailors gathered in Barrs Park next to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club where winners received secondary plaques and honorary trophies for the Anniversary Regatta and Onion Patch Series. One recipient of an award, Jeff White, from Philadelphia commented at the awards on Friday, "What is great about this race for an amateur is that it pits our skills against the professionals. We race against some of the best in the business." The Newport Bermuda classic remains the highlight of a sailing career and remains one of the few Corinthian races run entirely by volunteers. The Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club organize the race. For younger sailors, the event is the first opportunity to gain offshore experience and it bonds generations together. While many crews view winning one of the Lighthouse trophies as the holy grail of an offshore yacht- racing career, finishing well within each class is an achievable and coveted goal. "For a navigator, this was one of the most challenging races of our careers," said Dirk Johnson, navigator aboard the first to finish winner Bella Mente. The race founder Thomas Fleming summed up the thoughts that may be the motivator for 265 teams to compete in the Bermuda Race, saying, "Sailors simply want to get a smell of the sea and forget the time being that there is such a thing as God's green earth and the universe."
Port Washington YC was the Race Committee for the weekend of June 24-25. Racing was cancelled on Saturday, but results are available for Sunday, June 25. There were nine Sonars and two Knickerbocker One Designs (KODs) on the starting line for two races. Results for the Sonars: Race 1: 1. #682, Puff, Ralf Steitz/Ted Toombs, 2. #421, Weekend Warrior, Dan Simon/Bill Simon, and 3. #451, Ping, Sue Miller/John Browning. Top Sonars for the second race: 1. Puff, 2. Weekend Warrior, and 3. #487, Viento, Jonathan Siener. Top KOD boats: Race 1: 1. #14, 2. #12. For Race 2: 1. #14, 2. #15, and 3. #12. Names of KOD owners unavailable. Future race results can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thirsty Thursday results for June 15: Division I (Distance 5.49 nm, Course CU, seven boats, on WD): 1. Free Fall, Bill McFaul, 2. Promise Kept, Sandy Lindenbaum, and 3. Avalanche, Al Albrecht. Division II (Distance 5.49 nm, Course Cu, seven boats, two WD): 1. Exite, Yalcin Tarhan, 2. Out of Reach, Louis Nees, and 3. Vision, Marc Epstein. Division III (distance 4.40, Course IU, 5 boats, one WD): 1. En Passant, Bob Ebenau, 2. Tootsie, Ron Fink, and 3. Sundance, Joel Ziev. Division IV (Distance 2.42 nm, Course KU, two boats): 1. Aquila, Neil Dorman, and 2. Oy, Weintraub (first name unavailable). Division Cats (distance 5.49 nm, Course Cu, one boat): 1. Renegade, Andy Ledins. Results for June 22: Division I (Distance 6.73 nm, Course BJ, five boats): 1. Free Fall, 2. Promise Kept, and 3. Avalanche. Division II (Distance 5.97 nm, Course BC, five boats, one WD): 1. Exite, 2. EnGarde, Charlie Cannam, and 3. Beowulf, David Deutsch. Division III (Distance 4.88 nm, Course BI, six boats): 1. (tie) Tootsie and En Passant, 3. Serenity, Jacques Blinbaum. Division IV (Distance 4.09 nm, course BY, two boats): 1. Aquila, and 2. Oy. Division Cats: (Distance 6.73 nm, Course BJ, one boat): 1. Renegade, Andy Ledins.
For those interested in the Louis Vuitton ACT 12 regatta, OLN will broadcast coverage with Tucker Thompson, t2p.tv on the following dates: Friday, June 30, 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 1, 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, July 2, 4:30 p.m.; and Monday, July 3, 4:30 p.m. OLN covers other sailing events, such at the Volvo Ocean Race. Listings can be found at http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/calendar/shows/.