• Rambler 88' Under 50 nm To Finish


    June 17, 2018
    Race Bulletin #17 – Five Boats Ahead of a Tightly Packed Fleet
    The Saturday evening update from the Newport Bermuda Race media team.

    After a day of relatively light winds in the 51st Newport Bermuda Race, the competitors had made moderate progress down the 635-mile course toward the finish line at St. David’s Lighthouse on the northeast corner of Bermuda. Led by Rambler 88, George David’s 88-foot Juan K design, five boats crossed the Gulf Stream and opened up a significant gap on the rest of the 169-boat fleet, many of whom were sailing in lighter winds.

    Early in the day, David Askew’s Wizard, a Volvo 70-footer, may have found better winds and a good wind shift on the west side of the rhumb line, as it passed Rambler at one point, before being overhauled again by the larger boat. Also in this group were two other big boats in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division—Steve Murray, Jr. and Stephen Murray Sr.’s Warrior, George Sakellaris’ Proteus—as well as Elvis, Jason Carroll’s Gunboat 62, which had built a strong lead on the other two boats in the Multihull Division.

    There are a total of seven divisional trophies, and each division has its own race and intrigue. With light winds forecast as most boats cross the Gulf Stream tonight and plot their approach to Bermuda, sailors will focus on nursing best speed from their boats while eying their competitors and hoping they are well positioned for the winds that develop in the next few days.

    “It is rare to see your competitors on ocean races after the start, but this race has been very different,” wrote Mark D’Arcy from aboard Inisharon, James Murphy’s F&C 44, racing in the Finisterre Division. “Many folks are targeting the same Gulf Stream crossing point and because most are along the rhumbline, we have seen a lot more boats this race.”

    For much of the day, the race boats made faster progress towards Bermuda than the Media Team, which was delayed at Boston’s Logan Airport while its Delta A319 waited for a replacement engine part. However, we received a number of reports from boats via tweet, email, and satellite tracker (see article below) and kept up a steady flow of activity on Facebook, Twitter, and Bermudarace.com. Our social media commentator, Nic Douglass – Adventures of a Sailor Girl recorded most of her wrap-up of the day for Facebook while at the airport and then aired it in the evening after landing in Bermuda.

    – John Burnham


    Merlin’s Path: Spinnaker Repair with the Usual Vlad
    The euphoria of pacing with the Grand Prix fleet floated away as the wind backed north overnight and we tore our A2 kite from leech to leech. By Chris Museler.

    In the morning, the AIS and daylight showed us behind the slower Kodiak in our class. It happens, but it’s a bummer.

    The Kodiak team was one of many to withdraw from the last race when a dangerous depression was forecast. I know they are hungrier than the average bear. I have a feeling that Llwyd Ecclestone’s pesky 66-footer with some of the best sailors in the Northeast is going to be our benchmark for the race. One we desperately want to pass

    Our light canoe, though, is still kicked over and chasing breeze with bigger spinnakers.

    Our crew is mostly amateurs, still new to Merlin. But those awesome bonds with chill, opened-minded crew that fuse in an ocean race and in sailing are clear as our watches roll by.

    Kat Malone, a watch foredeck boss and wife of captain Brian Malone, spent three hours this morning repairing a rip the length of a Lightning one-design dinghy.

    Kat grew up in Kansas with horses. When she moved to Tampa, Florida, “it was too expensive to take the horses,” and she found sailing at Davis Island Yacht Club.

    Vlad “Kuli” Kulinichenko calmly coached Kat through the arduous repair. Kat would hold either end of the tear as Kuli would patiently explain how to counter the bias of the cloth, a master class in onboard sail repair.

    Kuli was one of the “Usual Vlads,” famous in magazines, books and videos as the Russian team in the 1989-’90 Whitbread around the world race aboard the extraordinary maxi Fasizi. He’s literally sailed everywhere you can sail as a pro sailor. He just knows the tricks: how to open a genoa slot with a lazy spinnaker sheet pulling straight back; or how to factor in four different data inputs from the red-lit screens while riding apparent wind in drifting conditions. He’s a calm teacher and uses few words in his heavy Russian accent to get the point across, every time.

    “Even if you know you’re right, you can’t push an idea too hard; otherwise you lose them,” said Kuli, referring to the times he must influence a new team even when some “think” they know the right answer.

    Kat and Kuli are a fine team. After they met at Davis Island, she picked things up quickly and Kuli proposed her for membership. Not long ago she became the first female commodore of the club.

    The sail was repaired just in time to be used in the dying breeze. The leaders are now out of sight, and we just passed Dream Crusher, a smaller, much more modern boat in the Gibbs Hill Division. We know our time may come again, like last night alongside Rambler 88.

    There’s always a hope for something better in the Bermuda Race or any ocean race. Onboard Merlin, the team is enjoying the process and each other. We’re still sliding along at 9 knots. A bit better than most in the fleet, I hope.

    More News from the Boats – Sunday
    Bloggers report from Shearwater (Mason 43), Dreamcatcher, and Inisharon.

    Shearwater Reports

    June 17 – 1115

    Good morning everyone and Happy Fathers Day – the fathers on board sure miss their kids about now (I hope this suck-up results in a couple beers when we get home). Weather this morning is delightful though the wind, as predicted, is pretty light. We entered the Gulf Stream around 1 am last night and, at least for Shearwater, the GS was well behaved. We faced some strong foul current as well as a push eastward – pretty mush as we anticipated. Seas were pretty light and we made very good progress under spinnaker and staysail. Right now, we’re south and heading to an eddy which, we hope, will give us some positive current.

    So, the GULF STREAM – for those of you unfamiliar – is an ocean current running from the south atlantic, along the US eastern seaboard, angling (in a much weaker state) to England allowing some parts of the UK to grow palm trees. It’s northerly flow is a hindrance to the Newport-Bermuda racers as the foul current can run 2+ kts. So, much effort is spent to understand the stream and how to route through it. The Gulf Stream spins off eddies that rotate, provided a boat can find those eddies and travel along the southerly heading current, boat speed is increased – you screw up and hit the wrong side, boat speed is reduced – for a sailboat that travels less than 10 kts, picking right helps a great deal – thus the intensity of study.

    So this years crossing for us was pretty uneventful and the guys watching over my shoulder want me to “embellish” somewhat so I’ll write about a horror story. Rich and Dennis remember the 2005 Marion-Bermuda where the stream and high winds opposed resulting in heavy/choppy seas with short periods. Driving at night, unable to see the on-coming waves resulted in a very wild ride with seas frequently breaking over the stern. Shearwater made several equipment contributions to the Sea Gods that trip.

    You got me – from my extensive experience crossing (2xs), it could be a bunch of bunk.

    On to maintenance: In my experience, if there is something that can go wrong on a boat it will (though even the full proof things also break). There’s truth in the adage that a boat is a hole where you pour your money in… Shearwater‘s challenges this race (so far) are:

    No generator – the boat’s generator is being serviced and could not be installed prior to the race. We had to add weight to offset this and now charge the batteries using the main engine. Not a big deal though we have regularly scheduled running times so we don’t suddenly find out we’re out of juice and unable to listen to Billy Joel… on the other hand, we now have a fitness center to complement our hot tub and red/white wine cellars.

    Engine throttle link – the link connecting the binnacle mounted throttle to the engine broke yesterday – through the brilliant minds of the crew we’re able to make a temporary fix using hose clamps, electric wire and a whole bunch of swearing. I’ll post a photo (not of the swearing) when we’re in Twitter range.

    Hot water – we have a clogged line or filter that we haven’t cleared yet so showers are cold and fast with lots of high pitch yelping. We’ll tackle that when we have a chance.

    That’s it for now – Chef Dan is making eggs over baked beans (Gretchen’s recipe) – I’m getting hungry and am scheduled to drive shortly.

    Hopefully, I’ll be able to submit another post later today.

    Again, Happy Fathers Day from the mid-Atlantic!

    – Jeff Ryer

    Reports via Twitter:

    @J44VAMP – “Smooth passage out of the Gulf Stream into the Sargasso Sea. J44 Vamp suffered a broken toilet seat which is now free sliding across the toilet.”

    @MorganOfMariettaBDA2018 – “We have been in the gulfstream for several hours. Wind is light and currents are strong.

    @Redgirl714 (Deanna Polizzo) – Great first 24 hours for Wischbone. 145 nm On course and headed for the Gulf Stream! Wischbone has two first time Bermuda Racers aboard. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

    Dreamcatcher Reports

    June 17 – 0700

    Happy Fathers Day!

    An uneventful Gulf Stream crossing with breeze was a relief as we gear up for our date with the high-pressure ridge forming in front of us. There’ll be plenty of sun today as we work our way south in lighter going. The good teamwork between the spinnaker trimmer and the helm makes all the difference.

    Various sentiments voiced regarding Fathers Day: “Dad’s going to find multiple cards…”, “I am so screwed that I forgot…”, and from one senior coach to the other “Happy Fathers Day…”.

    There was active discussion last night about the most memorable dinner so far. It was a toss-up between the meat loaf and the pasta with meatballs and sausage.

    -John Winder

    nisharon Reports

    June 17 – 1150

    Today is the day for a lot to celebrate about. Happy Father’s today to all you Dads out there. Wish I could have mine and my children onboard this time around, but is difficult to persuade teenagers that sailing long distances over the ocean, being in cramped quarters with others, whose movements you know everything about, including whether they used an extra dose of deodorant or not. Alas are the joys of offshore racing.

    Last night we crossed the Gulf Stream. Was one of the best nights of sailing we had. The stars were lit up like a holiday tree, with numerous falling stars, shimmering satellites and very pleasant warm breeze. We were flying the spinnaker the entire way and also had our mizzen staysail flying. Tricky to keep both flying while crabing across the gulf stream, but keeping both pulling is the necessary trick.

    The high pressure is upon us. So for sun bathers, you would have died and gone to heaven, a perfect sunny day. Unfortunately, the winds are light and expected to remain light for the entire day. This makes for some frustrating sailing to keep her moving and sails pulling. Inisharon is a heavy boat, so if she looses momentum, it takes a very long time to get her back up and running.

    Bit of vanilla yogurt, blueberries and granola to start the beautiful morning. We all enjoyed delicious guava juice and mimosas this morning… Just kidding, no mimosas unfortunately.

    During the day we go to a 6 hour watch, so currently on for a while, while the other watch is getting much earned rest. We share the driving, as it is hard to maintain focus beyound an hour behind the wheel.

    Water temperature is 78 degrees, and has changed color too. Its much more blue, so you know you are in the Stream without looking at a map. Old school as they say.

    Boat is performing well as is the crew. Things will get a bit more ripe, as the temperatures remain warm both air and water. We can see a number of our fellow racers around us which also helps to keep focus and motivation.

    We have gybed back towards rhumb line, a bit earlier than I wanted but did not want to wait for the wind to lighten further before we did. It is predicted to veer so hopefully that will bring us closer to where we want to go on our port tack. While a bit earlier than I liked, seems a number of boats took our queue, and did the same. Some of whom are in our class, so like were covering us, which is smart.

    Speaking of competition, we receive position reports and leaderboard reports. I was proud to say we were first in our class this morning, which is very exciting. A lot of miles to sail, a lot of decisions to be made, so things will likely change quite a bit many times before we get to Bermuda.

    Time to slather some sunscreen on and go the promenade deck to see if they are serving cocktails yet.

    Again, Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.


    Inisharon out.

    – Mark D’Arcy
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2018 Newport Bermuda started by Photoboy View original post