Photo: Billy Black/

Bermuda here we come

187 boats set sail on Newport-Bermuda Race

Friday June 18th 2010, Author: John Rousmaniere, Location: United States

183 sailboats made the start today in the 47th Bermuda Race. The start near the mouth of Narragansett Bay off Newport Rhode Island saw boats ranging from 33 footers, such as Killua sailed by Jim Binch of New Cannan, Connecticut, and Sailor Bandito with Chris Palabrica of Carmel, Indiana at the helm, to Alex Jackson’s supermaxi 100ft Speedboat. The leaders are expected to complete the 635 mile race late Sunday or Monday.

Each of the 16 classes had an individual start at 10-minute intervals. Hundreds of spectator boats and thousands more land-side spectators lined the East Passage as the boats caught a good ride on the outgoing tide, and headed south towards an Atlantic Gulf Stream crossing and the finish line 635 miles down the track in Bermuda. It was a brilliant sailing day in Newport.

Bermuda - here they come!

The first starting time, 2:00PM EDT, was an hour later than usual to allow the starters an equal chance at a fair tide. The slower boats started first so Class 1 featured three classic Cal 40s, including two-time Lighthouse winner Peter Rebovich’s Sinn Fein, Gone with the Wind sailed by William LeRoy and Belle Aurore sailed by Douglas Jurris. The sequence concluded with three 'Open' Boats in Class 16 - Speedboat, Il Mostro (Puma) sailed by Ken Read and Genuine Risk, sailed by Bermuda's Mark Watson.

The Newport Bermuda Race is organised by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The New York Yacht Club Race Committee under the direction of Tinker Myles managed the starts.

Sheila McCurdy, the commodore of the CCA, Peter Shrubb who leads the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and 2010 Race Chairman Bjorn Johnson watched with anticipation. All three are avid sailors, but watched this year’s action on a VIP boat with the Governor of Bermuda Sir Richard Gozney, Bermuda’s Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and other special guests.

After the 10 knot sea breeze at the start, winds on the course are predicted to be light and shifty for the first 24 hours as boats make their way towards a meander in the Gulf Stream slightly west of the straight-line course (rhumb line to sailors) and a possible 150-mile southbound favorable current. The Gulf Stream may boost the speed over the bottom by as much as 5 knots in some places. Winds from the Stream to Bermuda are predicted to be moderate southwesterly and currents are unusual, probably linked to unusual low tides being experienced in Bermuda.

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