Sinn Fein wins Class 1 and the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy
By Lynn Fitzpatrick
Sinn Fein, Peter Rebovich’s Cal 40 from Metuchen New Jersey, beat the other ten boats in Class 1 and the entire 123-boat St. David’s Lighthouse Division for top honors in the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race. This is Rebovich’s fourth successive Class 1 win and his second lighthouse win in a row.
In addition to claiming the St. David’s Lighthouse Division victory, Sinn Fein is the first boat ever to win the North Rock Beacon Trophy, which was donated this year by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club for the winner on corrected time among all of the 122 IRC-rated boats in the combined St. David’s and the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Divisions.
Sinn Fein, pronounced “Sin Fin” by the renegades from Raritan Yacht Club, placed first in Class 1, the small boat group, in the 2002, 2004 and 2006 Newport Bermuda Races. The crew has been together for several Bermuda Races with five of the seven members having been on the 2002 team and all of them having been aboard for the Centennial Newport Bermuda Race in 2006, so all of them have now won Class 1 and St. David’s Lighthouse trophies.
The small boats had a very different race from that sailed by the big boats in the Open Division that finished the day before them. The winds were on the bow, straight from Bermuda the entire time, and were much stronger after the High that buffered the approach to Bermuda earlier in the week, had disappeared.
Peter Rebovich said of his crew, “This is the best crew in the race without a doubt and this was one of the most difficult races, because it was all upwind. No one got sick, but we did have mechanical issues. It was an unexpected win because we lost our electronics when we swamped the computer and lost use of our satellite phone. We could navigate, but we couldn’t communicate. It was a total surprise!”
Sinn Fein is no stranger to celebrating in Bermuda. The crew was unanimous in saying that they were going to drink a lot, go to the Governor’s party and eat Bermuda out of fish chowder.
Sinn Fein’s elapsed time or 104:43:57 corrected at 61:06:38 under ORR and 100:13:44 under the IRC rule. Selkie, a McCurdy Rhodes 38, skippered by Sheila McCurdy, Vice Commodore of the Cruising Club of America, was second with a corrected time of 62:10:18. Emily, Edwin S. Gaynor’s Nielsen 44, was third in the division with a corrected time of 63:23:48.
Sinn Fein’s all amateur crew is comprised of Peter S. Rebovich Sr., Gary Gochal, Henry Henning, Peter S. Rebovich Jr., Mark P. Rebovich, Kelly Robinson and Foster Tallman.
Tiny Tenacious triumphs in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division
Tenacious, the little Beneteau First 36.7 sailed by Julian Dougherty of City Island New York, was smallest boat in the Gibbs Hill Division of traditional keelboats with professional crews and won against the likes of the R/P 90 Rambler, STP65 Moneypenny. and the new R/P 69 Bella Mente. Rambler crossed the line first on Monday afternoon and Tenacious completed her voyage down to Bermuda on Tuesday night.
Tenacious had a total elapsed time of 103:00:28 which corrected out to 56:53:20. She finished two and a half hours ahead of Thomas Carroll’s J 133 Sirensong, the second place boat in Class 10 of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. Aquarius, Sam Fleet’s Swan 601, won Class 11, the other Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. The corrected time for Aquarius was 63:04:10.
Tenacious was largely sailed by amateurs from Long Island Sound. Her crew included: Stephen Cain, Julien Dougherty, Gerard Girsti, Thomas Mikolasko, Heather Schultes and Jeffrey Tyrel. Sailmaker Adam Lorry, was the sole professional on board and the team entered the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse division to allow him to drive the boat.
Back to Bermuda for Champagne and Bacon Sandwiches
Paul Hubbard and his crew on Bermuda Oyster have been sailing together forever and 109 hours 7 minutes and 11 seconds back to their home port. Bermuda Oyster crossed the finish line at 4:57:11 on Wednesday morning and was greeted at the dock by Yvonne Hubbard, Jenny Redburn, a bottle of champagne and bacon sandwiches from The Green Lantern.
And now they have something to really celebrate. With a corrected time of 81:38:51 Bermuda Oyster takes 1st in Class 12 and wins the Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy for 1st place in the 43-boat Cruiser Division.
The champagne and bacon sandwiches are part of a tradition that dates back at least 8 years when Neil Redburn started sailing with Hubbard. The spirits and the victuals were a delightful welcome home for the Bermudian sailors with more than a five o’clock shadow on their faces.
Their Oyster 435, “sails like a brick” according to Hubbard. Despite being a heavy boat that sails well upwind, the chef did not cook on Sunday and Monday. According to Hubbard and some of the crew that has been with him for 17 years, “this was the roughest trip on the boat. The wind was on the nose the entire way.”
“We were docked next to Steve Sherwin’s Nasty Medicine (another Bermuda boat) in Newport. They were off loading provisions and liquor and we were stowing ours down below. We have an extensive wine list, but it went largely untouched.”
Another Bermudian crew celebrating today was Colin Couper and his crew on Babe, a Swan 46 which finished first in class 3 and top Bermudian boat in the fleet. Navigator Kierion O'Connell said "We had a fantastic sail down and made most of the shifting winds. Everything said 'go west' and not take any notice of the Gulf Stream, and that is exactly what we did." This was Couper's 5th Bermuda race onboard Babe and 9th crossing with his crew.
For watch captain and tactician, Jonathan Brewin, the most memorable aspect was the food cooked up by Couper and Stephen Kempe. "It was the best I have every had on a passage race. Normally we have to make do with freeze dried fare but this time Stephen and Colin served up roast beef on our first night out and suprised us every meal after that. Then, close to the finish when we were all pumped up to do well, they came up with bowls of ice cream."
du Moulin and Reyling win Double-Handed Division for 4th time
Rich du Moulin the immediate Past Commodore of the Storm Trysail Club, and crewman Chris Reyling limped across the Newport Bermuda finish line aboard Lora Ann, but had a pleasant surprise when they looked at the Official Notice Board. The duo won the Double-Handed Division once again. According to du Moulin, the 2008 race marks the fourth time in a row that he has won the division and the third time in a row that du Moulin and Reyling have won together.
Lora Ann’s corrected time was 80 hours 37 minutes and 47 seconds. Mireille sailed by Hewitt Gaynor and Jay Raymond finished second some 17 minutes later.
du Moulin and Reyling made it to Royal Bermuda Yacht Club long before Lora Ann, an Express 37, was expected to show up. Lora Ann was towed from the finish line to Dockyard for repairs. The two crewmen looked exhausted. “It was a tough race. We normally have four hours on and four hours off, but this time it was more like five to six hours on and three hours off. We didn’t have an autopilot for most of the race.” Reyling went on to explain that an engine light indicated that the engine was overheating. They went to check the cooling valve and the stem to the valve broke, so they had no engine for the last 36 hours of their 100 hours 14 minutes and 41 second hour race. With no batteries and no autopilot, they resorted to hand steering. “It was monotonous and trying,” said Reyling.
du Moulin, a twenty time Newport Bermuda veteran, spoke for the pair saying, “we like double handing because there is more adventure. It’s not insane like single handing because at least there is always someone who can keep an eye out for ships.” He conceded howver, “It’s nice that it’s over and you forget about it by the next time it’s time to sign up.”