By Pamela Thomas
Last December in Maine, our friend and skipper, Richard Stevenson Jr., asked
my husband, Scott, and me if we would be interested in racing to Bermuda
in his recently purchased Sydney 38, Buzz. “Count us in!”
we replied without hesitation , as did the rest of his former crew.
before our sailing resumes were approved by the race’s organizing
committee, Scott and I booked return flights and accommodations. We
watched for new posts on the official BermudaRace.com website and followed the progress
on Rich’s extensive race prep checklist. Self-employed, we informed
our customers that right in the middle of our busiest season we would
be racing to Bermuda and encouraged them to order early. (Amazingly,
winter turned to a long sunny spring and my work, gardening, volunteer
responsibilities, and Etchells racing schedules ramped up, all I could
think of was, “Wow, do I need a vacation.” The more I thought of
Bermuda, the more I realized my dream did not include hot bunking in
a cabin with stinky wet sailing gear, seven men, and “heater meals.”
We were nine in total and Rich said he could do it with six.
agonized for weeks over bowing out, feeling like such a wimp. This
time around I chose to pass on sailing, extended my waterfront cottage
accommodation for ten days, and booked a flight south from Boston.
and his wife, Catherine (my friend, attorney, and dentist), dubbed me
boat Social Director. I rose to the challenge. Group dinner
crew shoreside accommodations, and social itineraries took shape. I
joked that it was like herding cats. Since the crew had never
in this race and most were not familiar with the island, it was a bit
of a scramble. The race coincided with the island's peak season,
season, and World Cup Soccer season. It all came together over summer's
of us got a last-minute invitation to watch the start on June 18th
on a friend’s motor boat. Another of us grabbed her kids (all under
age eight) for a dash to board a chase boat headed for the start line.
This we couldn't miss.
shore operation in Bermuda was big – spouses, kids, S.O.'s, parents,
good friends, and a Labrador retriever. We packed sun dresses, swim
suits, and sunscreen. We dragged spouses’ duffle bags with clean duds,
and lugged our computers so we could follow the race progress on the
official website. We texted cryptic messages to save on cell phone
calls. We emailed family and friends at home. We swam. We read. We
in amazingly perfect weather and appreciated the kindness and warmth
Buzz finished in just under four days, the support team was there
to greet the sailing team at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. We hugged
our weary, exhilarated sailors and toasted them with Dark 'n Stormies.
Buzz crew in Bermuda
placed 4th in Class 6 in the St. David's Lighthouse Division. The boat’s
support team did very well, too. It was a fabulous trip and we
can't wait to do it again.